Posted at: 09/24/2013 5:46 PM
By: Jenna Lohse
Tweet Leads to Social Media Ban at Rochester City Council
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A sign of the times, a controversial tweet prompts city leaders to put a technology ban in place.
There have apparently been some inflammatory tweets coming out of a Rochester City Council member's twitter feed, and that is now a big no-no, during council meetings.
Social media can be used almost anywhere at any time, but when Rochester Council Member Michael Wojcik's twitter feed took aim at a local veteran who was speaking before the council, President Randy Staver knew he had to set some ground rules.
"It's a two edge sword, it's a powerful tool it's not going away,” said Rochester Council Member Michael Wojcik.
It may not be going away, but twitter will no longer be used by the city council members during their weekly meetings. Council President Staver handed out a memo asking for compliance with the new rule.
"Certainly we do make use of technology in our business and that's very appropriate, but when it becomes intrusive and not germane to the business we are trying to conduct than it's inappropriate,” said Rochester Council President Randy Staver.
"Just like anything else the focus should be on doing the business of the community and that's appropriate and I think everyone agrees with that,” said Wojcik.
This comes after that inflammatory post concerning the afore mentioned veteran. During his testimony, the man used a derogatory word for Japanese soldiers which upset Wojcik. Soon after a message was posted on his feed calling the man "senile" and "racist".
"I’ve publicly apologized and I’ll do so again. During the meeting I typically have some people running my account and they said some things and then after the meeting I repeated those things that were inappropriate towards a member of our community,” said Wojcik.
Staver says he wasn't so much concerned with the content of the message, but rather the fact that it was being done during the course of the meeting.
"One of the aspects that concerned me was the legal angle that being that if we communicate with the public after public hearing has been closed but before we voted that could get us in some legal hot water,” said Staver.
While council members can no longer tweet or Facebook during the meetings, "Not sure whether or not I’ll have people continue to use social media for me, but either way it's our responsibility to give the people in front of us the hearing they deserve,” said Wojcik.
Randy Staver tells me the entire council agreed to no longer use social media during meetings and he doesn't see any future issues with it.