A MAIL-OUT from the Baw Baw Shire which was reportedly sent to some addresses multiple times, former residents and deceased people was not a “stuff up”, according to council CEO Helen Anstis.
Above: A picture of multiple 'Going Digital' letters sent to one address posted to the Baw Baw Shire Council Facebook page as part of a complaint.
First published in the 14 November 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. Click here to get a copy.
In a letter to the Baw Baw Ratepayers & Citizens Association, Ms Anstis said the “Going Digital” mail-out, which asked residents for their digital contact details with the aim of improving council communication, may have had an “error in processing” but objected to the terminology used by the group’s secretary.
“I strongly object to your claims of a ‘stuff-up’,” Ms Anstis said.
“It was an error in processing. It was not deliberate or intended, it was a mistake.”
In the letter Ms Anstis stressed the mail-out had been part of a campaign to reduce council costs.
“Our organisation is attempting to reduce the costs of sending out rate notices and other information to ratepayers and residents.
In order to do that we need to gather electronic details – hence the mail-out.”
“We deliberately tried to contact as many people as possible, not just ratepayers,” Ms Anstis said.
“In our efforts to do so there were some instances in which letters were sent with incorrect salutations.”
A number of residents have reported not receiving a letter at all.
Ms Anstis stressed no personal information had been compromised as a result of the error.
“No sensitive information was divulged,” she said.
“Other than names and addresses in the envelope window – all of which were correct – the only other information was a first name.”
“There was nothing to identify anyone and certainly nothing sensitive.
“While there were some addresses that received multiple letters we expect that in the fullness of time this process will provide our ratepayers and residents with a better service and save [the] council money.”
The botched mail-out saw a number of complaints made to the council on social media, including one from a resident who said they received a letter addressed to someone who had not lived at the property for 25 years.
Many complaints centred around the cost of the extra letters, but a council spokesperson said there will be savings in the future when mailing around 25,000 rates notices.
“If we can email a rates notice not only is it more convenient for some people it also costs about $0.65 less than sending a hard copy.”
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