Rochester City Council Splits on Social Media Policy

March 20, 2017 11:30 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The City Council took a critical look at a social media policy concerning city representatives, specifically employees, agents, council members, appointed board or commission members, and volunteers.

The policy outlines the need for maintaining a quote “high level of ethical conduct” and no city social media account may be used to make statements that undermine core values of the city. Council members Nick Campion, Michael Wojcik, and Annalissa Johnson questioned the inclusion of the title “volunteer” as one of the roles that would be held accountable under the policy.


“There's use throughout this document of the word professional. And that is literally the opposite of volunteer. A volunteer is someone who does not receive remuneration for their activity. Profession is required to withdraw some sort of compensation for their activity,” Campion said.

Other concerns included whether or not the policy clearly explained how any “violation” would be handled and by who. Finally, it was asked who would decide what is considered ethical conduct.

"You can't write a policy for every single infraction that might occur so to write 'this will happen when this happens' is impossible to do, especially in the ever-evolving world of social media; there’s so many different variables that come into play that I can't give you a concrete answer on that,” said Human Resources Director, Linda Hillenbrand.

The council voted 4 to 3 to table the policy. It will now be pushed back to the personnel advisory committee for further review and modification.

The City Council also voted in favor of holding a public hearing to repeal an ordinance banning Sunday liquor sales in order to align local law with state law.


Olivia York

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