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Leetsdale adopts social media policy

| Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

Leetsdale employees who comment on stories about the borough now must acknowledge they work for the town.

“When they are using social media — whether it is their own Twitter account or Facebook page or make comments that relate to the borough — they clearly disclose that it is their opinion and not necessarily the opinion or position of the borough,” solicitor Megan Ott said.

Ott said the policy, adopted by council last week, is not meant to hinder public comment, but to release the borough from being linked to an employee's opinion.

“The idea is that, while everyone has their First Amendment rights, because they are employees of the borough, you want to make sure that it is clear that they are communicating in their opinion that they are doing so in a way that is respectful and not profane and also it is clear that they are doing so as an individual and not as a borough employee,” Ott said.

Ott said she had no “indication that this is a problem (in Leetsdale) right now.”

She said government agencies should adopt policies regarding comments made online by employees, calling it a “proactive” matter.

The social media policy also incorporates comments from citizens and organizations made on online material owned by the borough.

“If there were people or organizations who were posting profane, inappropriate, discriminatory types of things, then you, as a municipality … have a right to remove them,” Ott said.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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