Email Influx Overwhelming Congressional Staff

Tuesday, 04 Oct 2011 01:46 PM

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The ease of contacting members of Congress through email and websites has flooded House and Senate offices to the point that staffer members are working overtime to keep up, The Washington Post reported.

A new study by the nonpartisan Congressional Management Foundation entitled “Communicating With Congress: How Citizen Advocacy Is Changing Mail Operations on Capitol Hill” found that congressional offices have experienced 200 to 1,000 percent increases in communications in the past decade. “The question for any business or organization or culture that is experiencing that [trend] is, how do you manage it?” said Brad Fitch, the foundation’s president and chief executive, according to the Post.

Much of the increase is generated by advocacy groups that have portions of their websites devoted to that purpose. The report noted that Congress has not increased staff size since 1979, according to the Post.

Congress is adapting to change. In 2005 only 37 percent of email was answered with email and the rest by a traditional letter. However, 86 percent of congressional offices now “answer all or most of their incoming constituent email with email,” the Post reported.

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