THE EMAIL MYTHS DEBUNKED
Mary and the Myth of the Village Resident List
Questions, Answers & Documentation
PART A: Do you use the official Village Resident List to send out newsletters from you, or your website?
No. That would be impossible to do! Yet, I realize the ‘Urban’ Development Squad; Liquor License Annexors and Gate Crew have this one story they like to tell about me. And because it's all they have (in the face of my many years of service -mostly volunteer!) it's a drum they like to beat often. I suppose they keep hoping it will matter more than other essential items of concern in the Village. It's a silly story without merit and, in fact, the complete opposite is true. The real story is a true testament to the old saying:"No good deed goes unpunished!"
The Truth; Complete with Documentation
It's important to go back in time a little here and correct a vital misconception with regard to the Village Resident List... (a.k.a. the Village of Marvin's Email Subscriber list.)
Prior to 2011, obtaining the Village Resident Email List was a matter of typical public record. Anyone could ask for a copy and many people did. Residents only need to read this article to see the truth of this. Or, you can read the excerpts below to see how access to subscriber lists went from being "a right" to a record subject to municipal regulation.
The Availability and the Truth About Any Pre-2011 Village Resident List
Having this list was not "illegal". In fact, it was considered a record belonging to the public and the Clerk was required to provide it upon request.
In 2007, Mr. James Howard obtained the Resident List from Village Clerk, Melody Graham. He asked me to type it up for him. And, as a member of Marvin families interested in good government, he told me to keep a copy.
The meta-data, generated by my computer hard-drive will confirm the date on which this file was created and then later updated, or modified. This was long before I was ever an employee of the Village of Marvin.
Other records show that another long-time resident also sent me a copy of the Resident List / Sunshine list in 2010. Again, this occurred before I was employed at Village Hall.
Having these older versions of the Resident List was never illegal and there are several copies floating around in Marvin. In fact, in 2011, having copies of the list turned out to be a fortunate thing for me and for residents. It ensured I could send out meeting agendas and notifications with some degree of accuracy, when I was asked to jump-in and help out at Village Hall.
A Period of Village Employee Cut-backs and Efforts to Keep Things Running
In 2011, there were several Village Hall employee cut-backs and with those cut-backs several more staff members resigned. Under critical circumstances, the Council asked if I would fill-in as the Village Clerk. I had no experience but I did what I could to figure things. Under short-notice -- and to maintain government transparency -- I was under immense pressure to figure out a way to ensure Village residents continued to get weekly meeting notifications, agendas and updates.
Without former staff available to provide training on existing systems, I had to devise another solution. I felt I had no choice but to use my own Mailchimp account, my own credit card, and upload my own typed-up copy of the 2007 Resident List that James Howard had provided. The receipt below shows an 'upload' of my own data, to my own account, in 2011. I did this for expediency, and for the benefit of Village residents. In retrospect, it was probably not the best thing to do but I was motivated by good intentions. I felt this was the best way to reach most of the residents on the Village Resident List; who would otherwise be inaccessible using any other means. In short? I felt using a 'old list' was better than 'no list' at all.
The 2013 Transition Document: The Vital Missing Link
In 2013, things at Village Hall stabilized and I felt I could safely resign. The Village had re-hired Melody Graham, as the Village Clerk and I was asked to provide her with training. Though I felt she might simply return to the old 'HeretoHost' system, I trained her using MailChimp and temporarily placed her on my personal account as a ‘secondary user'. The instruction sheet I provided on that day of training confirms how I told the Clerk the account belonged to me and asked her to create a new Village account, using a Village credit card, and re-upload the Resident List for Village use. The document featured below was produced on November 15, 2013 and has not changed since that date.
Proof Transition Document Date: The computer generated meta-data verifies that I told the Clerk the Mailchimp account belonged to me and was being sustained by my credit card on November 15, 2013. The meta-data also confirms that the record has not been modified since the day the document was first published.
Instead of following my directions, the Village Clerk continued to use my personal, paid account, sustained by my personal credit card, for over a year. I don't know whether the Administrator knew this or not. I didn't expect them to use the account for long, so it's not something I thought I needed to monitor.
Account Access: The Reason the Rumor Takes Root
In 2015, when Marvin families began evaluating election candidates, I logged onto my Mailchimp account to export personally kept lists, and add Marvin family additions. According to records finally located in 2016, the Village Administrator reached out to Account Security Personnel notifying them that a 'non-staff member' logged in and 'exported files'. The Village Clerk (who now works for the Liquor License Annexors) did nothing to clarify the issue. The reason they could not log-in was because I had never relinquished my account. The data in the account belonged to me. Therefore, I did not attempt to appropriate Village data. If anything is true, it is that Village staff (knowingly or not) attempted to misappropriate mine.
This thread of communications, obtained from MailChimp Account Security personnel, shows that Village Hall staff was repeatedly told they were not the account holders; the account they were using was a paid account, using a credit card the Village did not own, and that it belonged to a different account holder. Below are the vital excerpts from that exchange.
Thankfully, Account Security personnel acted ethically and refused to compromise my paid account and my credit card information...
Employee Gives the Village Resident List to Members of a Mayoral Campaign
...but, that's not really the end of the story:
First, the illegality that arises from having the Village 'subscriber list' (or Resident List), comes when the list is not used in accordance with its intended purpose.
Remember that the Village Clerk did nothing to clarify the issue with the Administrator, even though she knew (or should have known) the truth about the account, per the instruction sheet I left behind... What's ironic is this: it turns out that if there was a Village employee who 'illegally' provided the "Resident List" to an election campaign, for unintended purposes, that person was not me, it was the Village Clerk. See the email below from the Village Clerk, to Councilwoman Frazzini. The email below was occurred in the midst of an election campaign in which Councilwoman Frazzini and her developer associates from Raley-Miller were fervently backing Mr. David Hoffman.
The provision of the Village Resident List to member's of Hoffman's mayoral campaign (namely, Christina Frazzini) is ironic given that certain members of Hoffman's campaign (particularly Mindy Nielsen) often like to charge me with these slanderous claims. Her most recent attempt came during a Village Council public comment period, on May 08, 2018. Christina Frazzini also worked very closely with other campaign advocates: Raley-Miller, commercial developer, and MC Gate Advocates; who had been promised functioning gates in exchange for their support of the Raley-Miller commercial development. [Pg. 9]
It's also worth nothing that Melody Graham, former Village Clerk, is the same member of staff who received countless, distasteful emails about me, from a Raley-Miller associate, while saying nothing. Yet, I was unjustifiably tormented by this developer for almost three years. And, once we were sued by this developer (Raley-Miller) she took insider information and left the Village of Marvin to work for Raley-Miller. This past summer she lodged State-level permit complaints against Robert Epps' Elysian Fields development on Raley-Miller's behalf. (See the link above.) Interestingly enough, neither Melody Graham, nor Raley-Miller associates live in Marvin -- so what is there interest? And just last week, a close friend of Ms. Graham's attempted to harass me with a contrived email, which 'conveniently' provided a 'timely' excuse for Vandenberg's attacks on me, in a Council meeting and on Nextdoor.com.
I only add these details to illustrate the degree to which this email issue has become a convenient political narrative, used by my opponents to distract residents from the real issues at hand. I hope that providing transparent access to these documents will help voters remain focused on the pertinent issues.
When and How I Found Out About the Root-Cause of this Story...
Unfortunately, I did not find out about any of this until I conducted my own public record investigation in 2016. I was eager to find the truth behind these rumors and had no idea why such a thing was being perpetuated, without merit. It's unfortunate that no one at Village Hall ever contacted me directly, regarding this issue. But, I guess it's true what they say: "No good deed goes unpunished!" Since then I have learned to be wiser about the personal lengths to which I'll go in order to be 'helpful'.
PART B: If Email Addresses Did Not Come from Post-2011 Resident Lists, How Were They Obtained?
Many Marvin families, interested in good government, have provided batches of emails to construct emails distribution lists in circulation today. It is a gross mistake to believe the emails on any of these lists are from Village Subscriber Lists, post-2011.
(Only Village Subscriber Lists post-2011 are regulated by more stringent NC Statutes - see above). If you find your email address is on one of these lists its very, very likely another resident in Marvin provided your email address as part of one of these batches. There are many records available to illustrate this point. Few examples illustrate this more perfectly than the following example:
Example: On Nov. 14, Councilwoman Vandenberg published a post on Nextdoor.com eluding to the fact that all emails in circulation were obtained through me, as an employee, and/or from a Village Subscriber List. This has been the premise of Ms. Vandenberg's 'call' for an investigation into 'email address usage', through the Board of Election. Believing that Ms. Vandenberg's insinuations had merit, Mr. Marino, of Firethorne stated, in part: "I've been trying for years to find out who got both my work and personal emails...it looks like Kim is on the right track here. I support [Kim's] efforts..." (See the full post below.)
Mr. Marino may be surprised to learn that Ms. Vandenberg is not on the right track. That, in fact, his personal and work email addresses were not provided by any Village Resident List at all! The email below, and the contents of the email provide a true testament to this: (all other email addresses have been 're-dacted to protect privacy)
The image above, depicts a true email record. In it you can see that a 'batch' of emails containing, Mr. Kenneth Marino's home and work email addresses was provided by Mayor Joe Pollino in 2015. At the time, Pollino was a defacto member of Marvin families interested in good government. In fact, in the subject email above, Mayor Pollino contributed approximately 250 Firethorne Country Club members' email addresses. Therefore, it is ironic and disingenuous for members of these current opposing political factions to slanderously insinuate their email addresses were taken through nefarious means, least of all by me. I have compiled many records like this, for display. However, in the end, I decided not to present them publicly here because I felt it might cause many innocent residents unnecessary embarrassment to do so. However, please know that a compilation of similar records, like this, are available for inspection, upon request.
Suffice to say, no Village Resident List was required to obtain Mr. Marino's personal or work address. Nor is a Village Subscriber list required to obtain the email addresses of other Marvin residents. All it takes is for one Marvin family to contribute a batch of email addresses, and many of them can be obtained.
So, there you have it! Mystery solved! 😊