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Township clamps down on social media

Ashley Andyshak Hayes

(3/12) Hamiltonban Township supervisors adopted a policy Tuesday evening that governs how township employees may use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others during work hours.

The policy also includes guidelines on how employees may discuss or refer to the township on social media sites during personal time.

The policy prohibits all township employees, including staff, elected officials, and members of township committees, from accessing social media sites during work hours through township computers or personal devices.

Township employees who identify themselves as such on social media sites are instructed to make clear that their statements do not represent the official position of the township and that they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the township, unless authorized by the board of supervisors. The policy prohibits employees from using the township seal, logo, or letterhead, or posting links to the township website without supervisors' permission.

The policy also discourages employees from using social media to "pick fights or spread false information or malicious rumors," or to "create a hostile work environment."

Those who violate the policy are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Supervisors also voted Tuesday to amend the township's cell phone use policy to regulate personal calls and text messages during work hours.

The updated policy prohibits personal calls, texts, or other messaging on township-issued cell phones. Employees who must make personal calls during work hours must direct those calls through the township office.

The previous cell phone policy allowed employees to make personal calls on township cell phones if the personal calls did not result in overage charges.

The amended policy also makes employees liable for any vehicle citations or accidents that occur due to the use of a cell phone.

Also on Tuesday, supervisors adopted a public comment policy for township meetings.

Residents are now allowed five minutes to address supervisors, and a group of residents may choose a spokesperson to comment on their behalf. The public comment period of each meeting will be limited to 30 minutes.

Public comment priority will be granted to Hamiltonban Township residents. If all residents have had a chance to speak and time remains in the 30-minute public comment period, others who live outside the township will be permitted to address the board.

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