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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lower MAC EAC Ordered to Take Down Facebook Page

Lower Macungie has ordered its Environmental Advisory Council, a group of volunteers, to take down their Facebook Page. About the most offensive thing I see there are a few pictures of carrots. I hate carrots. Here's what happened, according to EAC Chair Scott Alderfer.
On March 19, 2015, the LMT Board of Commissioners' General Administration Committee had their monthly meeting immediately prior to the BOC's bimonthly meeting. One of the Gen Ad Committee's agenda topics was a township social media policy. However, the discussion apparently focused on this particular FB page. I was not present for the discussion. All I know for certain is that the township manager was instructed to call me to ask me to take down the page. Bruce Fosselman, the township manager, is a good guy and a true professional. Out of my respect for him, I have agreed to cease posting on this page until the next Gen Ad Committee meeting when a social media policy will be on the agenda. Obviously, the BOC must be concerned about rogue members of township organizations making politically charged posts or personal attacks on a FB page that appears to originate from the township administration.
On the About tab on this page, it said that, "This page is maintained by the members of the Lower Macungie Environmental Advisory Council (EAC)." I have added wording to make it more clear that this page was a personal effort by some EAC members and was not a township-managed or a township-sanctioned FB page. I have also changed the category of our page from Government Organization to Community Organization.
In the past five weeks since this page was created, I think we have shared a lot of information that has increased our readers' awareness of environmental matters in and around Lower Macungie. And I am proud that we have not had a negative comment on any of our posts from any our our visitors. I'm also grateful for the 280 likes that we have received over the past five weeks. It seems as though people are interested in our content.
Until the April 16 General Administration Committee meeting, if there is any environmental related information that we feel it is important to share with the local FB community, we will try to share it on either the official Lower Macungie Township FB page and/or on the Friends for the Protection of Lower Macungie FB page to ensure that the info is distributed to those who might be interested. I will post again following the April 16 meeting to let our followers know of the outcome of that meeting and what may come next for this FB page.
This attempted muzzling and lack of transparency is precisely why people are unwilling to participate in government. I get having a social media polocy, but ordering this group to shut down is an unconstitutional deprivation of free speech.


Chris Casey said...

They are not happy with the criticism they are getting on several fronts. I wish Commissioners Lancsek and Conrad would step up and either admit or deny they were behind this. But I would not hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the town integrate the content into the Lower Mac website, assuming they have one?

It makes sense that the town would not want this site being maintained independently - but there should be a line of communication and a plan.

Anonymous said...

Oops - they DO have a website, and the EAC can post stuff there.

Then why did they create their own site?

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's a Facebook page and was like lily created bc most people will look at it while they won't spend much time on the LM webpage. A municipal government should really think twice before instructing any citizen to take down a page. That goes too far.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a government should not order a citizent to take down a page.
post anything you want, but don't suggest that it's from the BOC or anyone else working officially on behalf of the township, then you're on firm ground

Anonymous said...

Here is the disclaimer they have.

This page is a personal effort by members of the Lower Macungie EAC. This is not a township-managed or a township-sanctioned FB page.

That's enough for me.