Monday, November 3, 2008

Vision's Eleanor Gregory ‘Pulls a Sarah Palin’ by Using her Private Email to Conduct Potentially Explosive Government Business

When it comes to conducting government business on her private email account, rather than on her official government account that would put the email on public record, Vision Vancouver’s Eleanor Gregory is beginning to look as much like Sarah Palin as Tina Fey.

Just as hackers exposed Palin for conducting business as Alaska’s governor on her private Yahoo account, Gregory, an elected Vancouver School Board trustee, has been exposed for using her private email account for communication on a potentially explosive government issue.

Gregory (pictured above) has a government email address, eleanor.gregory@vsb.bc., which she gives out publicly. Yet when Gregory was contacted at that government address by a victim of alleged illegal “political psychiatry” at the VSB — Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry have identified the VSB as practicing Soviet-style political psychiatry and “as an absolute last resort” organized an International Boycott of Vancouver School Board Diplomas — Gregory immediately switched to her private email account egregory@gregoryandgregory to respond. “That’s the email of the law firm she runs, I think with her husband,” says the alleged victim. “But that firm isn’t involved in this case.”

The alleged victim received two emails from Gregory, both via her private account. At the end of the body of each email, Gregory’s private email address was re-stated as her contact address. “There was no mention of her vsb address”, says the victim.

Criticism directed at Palin for using a private email account to perform business in her role as Alaska governor could also apply to Gregory in her role as an elected VSB trustee: “E-mail that’s public business ought to be done on public accounts that can become public record”, Charles Davis, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition in the U.S., told Alaska’s Juneau Empire newspaper during the furor over Palin’s private email.

If government communication on an issue is being investigated, emails sent through a private account will not be readily available. Dave Jones, an assistant attorney general in Alaska told the Juneau Empire, “The difficulty is finding out they exist.”

The use of private email for government communication also increases the risk of confidentiality breaches. The victim of alleged VSB political psychiatry is concerned about who may have had access to Gregory’s private email account at Gregory & Gregory. “I have no way of knowing who has access to the email at her office. Maybe her secretary does, or maybe her husband.” The victim would also like to know whether Gregory used her private email account to communicate about her case with other Board members or staff. “I wrote to the Board last year”, says the victim, “and I said that because of the amount of libel generated by the VSB in this case, extra precautions should be taken to preserve confidentiality.” In fact, the victim had directed Gregory to that written communication addressed to Board Chair Ken Denike, when she first wrote to her at her VSB email. “That was before she switched to her private email.”

Not only Gregory’s switch to a private email account but the content of email she sent through that private account – the content will be examined in a separate article – led the alleged victim to conclude that Gregory was not acting in good faith.

Just as Palin’s conduct reflects on Presidential candidate John McCain who endorsed her, Gregory’s conduct reflects on Vancouver mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson who has been praising her on his campaign website. Robertson presented Gregory to the public as his ally, even after she was exposed for having done nothing as a trustee to ensure a criminal investigation into the practice of political psychiatry at the VSB, political psychiatry which evidence suggests was intended to deter freedom of information requests and election campaigning about VSB mishandling of bullying complaints. Robertson and his Vision Vancouver party face an election in two weeks.

A press release from Robertson’s campaign office quotes Gregory as saying that her “priority is to do what I can to assist his campaign.” It may be assistance he can do without.