Mundelein adopts rules for official social media accounts

  • Mundelein trustees have approved a policy establishing official social media pages for the village. It also spells out which employees are granted access and what they're allowed to post.

      Mundelein trustees have approved a policy establishing official social media pages for the village. It also spells out which employees are granted access and what they're allowed to post. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/10/2017 1:17 PM

With social media an increasingly important communications tool for government agencies, Mundelein officials are implementing usage guidelines for the town's accounts.

The policy establishes six official social media accounts. It also spells out which employees are allowed to update content on the sites and prohibits certain types of posts, such as political or discriminatory comments.

 

Under the rules unanimously approved by the village board Monday night, Mundelein's official social media accounts are: three separate Facebook pages for village hall, the police department and the fire department; a YouTube account; a Twitter account; and a LinkedIn account.

Additional accounts must be approved by the village board.

The employees allowed to update content on those sites include: Village Communications and Marketing Manager Dawn Jenich; Assistant Village Administrator Peter Vadopalas; Public Safety Director Eric Guenther; and Chief Deputy Fire Chief Bill Lark.

The town's elected officials -- Mayor Steve Lentz, Clerk Katy Timmerman and the six trustees -- will not be given access to manage the accounts, Village Administrator John Lobaito said.

"No one elected official has the authority to speak on behalf of the board," Lobaito said. "It's the staff's responsibility to communicate those things that need to be communicated."

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Lobaito isn't on the list either. He said he'd rather let Jenich and others handle the task.

The policy creates rules for content and conduct, too. Prohibited comments include those that: express opinions; perpetuate discrimination based on race, religion, disabilities and other factors; contain information regarding legal matters; are personal attacks; could compromise public safety; or are political.

Employees who violate the policy could face disciplinary action, including firing.

The policy doesn't apply to employees' personal social media accounts. However, individual village departments may have stricter policies regarding personal social media pages.

Mundelein has had a social media presence for a few years, but village hall hasn't had guidelines for those accounts until now.

"We have been lucky that nothing bad has happened," Lobaito said.

Some social-media posts by Mundelein trustees have garnered negative attention, however.

In August 2016, Trustee Dawn Abernathy accused then-trustee Dakotah Norton of "character assassination" over comments he made on Facebook about her.

The previous November, Norton was publicly criticized for using an expletive in a Facebook post that lashed out at residents who had complained about snow removal.

Norton's posts appeared on a personal Facebook page, not a village-sanctioned page.

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