Kimball OKs social media policy

Kimball OKs social media policy

December 12th, 2012 by Ryan Lewis in News

Kimball City Attorney and Marion County Attorney Billy Gouger

Photo by Ryan Lewis

KIMBALL, Tenn. -- As the use of social media grows, Kimball is moving to protect itself from misuse that could be damaging.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen late last week unanimously approved Resolution 2012-05, which sets a social media use and Internet posting policy for the town.

"The primary purpose of it is to create and maintain separation between an individual's right to use social media and the rights of employees or volunteers for the town to involve the town in posting on social media and Internet websites," City Attorney Billy Gouger said.

The policy the board adopted is a model policy recommended to members of the University of Tennessee's Municipal Technical Advisory Service, officials said.

Gouger said the policy deals primarily with protecting freedom-of-speech rights of individuals, employees or volunteers of the town, but it also is designed to guard the privacy rights of third parties and the town.

"It does require [individuals] to maintain a separation in their personal involvement [with Internet sites] and their employment or volunteer position with the town," he said.

Mayor David Jackson said the board will incorporate the same disciplinary procedures that are set out in the city's personnel guidelines to cover any violations of the new policy.

If a city employee or volunteer violates the policy, Gouger said, it could result in termination or removal if the violation is "deemed serious enough by the board or a department head."

"As always, that would be at the discretion of the board or the department head to make those decisions," he said.

At the request of Alderman Mark Payne, the board will review the new policy at a called meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CST to make sure it and the discipline procedures that accompany it are clear.

City leaders plan to meet with city employees and volunteers in the coming weeks to make them aware of the new policy and answer any questions they may have.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.