Burlington adopted a new policy for city employees Monday, months after social media scandals rocked the police department.
A motion to adopt a social media policy passed unanimously in the City Council. Beginning in December, the city’s Police Department faced scrutiny as news unfolded of Chief Brandon Del Pozo and Acting Police Chief Jan Wright using social media accounts under different names to comment on public matters. The two resigned from their positions.
The document includes details on how to navigate personal social media accounts and advice for department heads.
What’s in Burlington’s new social media policy?
The guidance noted an employee’s personal activity could impact Burlington as a city.
“If employees identify themselves as City employees or have positions that are known to the general public, they should ensure that their profiles and related content (even if they are of a personal and not an official nature) do not violate policies or procedures of the City,” the policy states.
The guidance asks employees to be clear that any comments surrounding city business are their own and that employees don’t intentionally misrepresent who they are through personal accounts to influence people on city matters.
The city also asks people to refrain from posts with “content that is regarded as bullying or threatens violence, that have the effect of harming, insulting, degrading or defaming others, including work colleagues, or that the employee knows to be false to harm another’s reputation.”
Department heads are directed not to use social media personally as the main way to relay “city business or direction” or communicate sensitive city business without the approval of the mayor’s office.
Employees who violate the policy could be subject to dismissal.
Contact Maleeha Syed at email@example.com or 802-495-6595. Follow her on Twitter @MaleehaSyed89.
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