Wauconda officials debate communications rules

Posted11/19/2014 5:30 AM

Wauconda's municipal employees, elected officials and consultants specifically would be bound to follow rules for social media, village newsletters and other forms of official communication under a proposal floated Tuesday night.

Wauconda already has detailed operating procedures for communications -- but the 12-page document doesn't spell out who needs to follow the regulations.


The new proposal, developed by the village board's communications committee and discussed during Tuesday's village board meeting, would add a sentence that says the standards "apply to village staff, consultants and elected officials and anyone with a contractual relationship to the village."

No action was taken on the plan Tuesday. It will be discussed again in January during an off-the-record team-building meeting.

The goal is to keep any official communiqué from village hall or another department "on message with what the village wants to say," said Trustee Linda Starkey, who leads the communications committee.

The other trustees voiced support for the proposal, but Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner expressed a few concerns -- as well as a reluctancy to be the one who monitors communications and metes out punishments when necessary.

"I can see myself getting in trouble real quick with some elected officials," Maxeiner said.

Mayor Frank Bart asked about enforcement, too.

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Village attorney Rudy Magna said the rules aren't designed to censor officials or staffers.

"This only governs official communications of the village and does not govern individual opinion," Magna said.

Still, officials need to remember that they need to be cautious when speaking as a representative of the village, Magna said.

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