Monday, March 29, 2021

Change Needed in Richardson's Social Media Policy

I applaud Kyle Kepner for using Facebook to discuss with the community this issue which is reasonably likely to be considered by the city council in the near future. But I'm curious how such discussion isn't a violation of the City's social media policy: "officials are prohibited from making any statements on social media regarding any individual, entity or issue which is reasonably likely to be considered by the body on which the official serves."

My recommendation is that the City revoke this gag order from its social media policy. Social Media Policy: (Exhibit A, pgs. 85-87)


Mark Steger said...

I had more to say on this topic, including a reference to Richardson's original gag order from 2010, in this post from last October.

S. said...

The social media comments by Council are valuable in publicizing the thinking of council members on local issues and in drawing attention to those issues. The risk is that multiple council members post their views on a topic and then there is a quorum discussing city business in violation of state open meetings laws.

Steve Benson

Mark Steger said...

Steve Benson, good point. Violating the Open Meetings Act is a risk. But in my opinion, forbidding all such talk (which is how the current policy is worded) is an excessive "solution."

Mark Steger said...

Steve Benson, otoh, avoiding violating the open meetings act is not the stated reason for the policy. The policy itself says it's "to avoid allegations of favoritism and/or bias for or against any individual, entity or issue." That raises the question, what's wrong with council members being in favor of something before it comes before the council? Isn't that exactly what they should be doing, bringing good ideas to the Council? They aren't judges, they are politicians.