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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lower Mac Supervisor Explains Facebook Page Objection

Yesterday, I told you that Lower Macungie's Environmental Advisory Council, a group of volunteers has been asked to take down its Facebook page. This appears to be overkill, but Lower Macungie Commissioner Brian Higgins contacted me with his point of view. He has kindly agreed to allow me to publish his thoughts.

I read your post about the EAC [Environmental Advisory Council] Facebook page and I did want to give you some more information about this issue. I am the chair of the Gen Ad Committee and this subject was discussed as part of our agenda last Thursday. It was brought to our attention that the EAC had created a Facebook page without notifying the township or asking for permission to do so. That brought up the discussion about a need for a policy on communication by advisory committees and their use of social media. The Gen Ad Committee recommended to the full [Board of Commissioners] BOC that they authorize the Township Manager to instruct the EAC Chair to stop using this page until a policy could be adopted and someone from staff was assigned to oversee any social media page from any Advisory Committee. The full Board agreed with the recommendation and acted on it.

The oversight is not in what they say but on how it is communicated to the general public. When you have a Board that is appointed by the BOC their information and opinions can be misconstrued as being the official stance of the government. I know Scott [the EAC Chair] and I am confident that the information he has shared is not harmful to anyone. I rely on him and the EAC for information that help me make decisions that take environmental matters into account. That does not mean that the next chair will have the same trustworthiness.

Generally it is hard to imagine a problem with what the EAC posts, however, greater issues could occur with other Advisory Committees, such as the Public Safety Committee. What if they had a Facebook Page an expressed opinions about seat belt safety? It could be misconstrued as being the official stance of LMT and therefore put the township in a legal conundrum.

Transparency is a major issue in all government. I am certain that once the policy is enacted, (which should happen at the April 16 Meeting), the EAC will be back helping us spruce up our gardens for the rest of Spring.

Thank you for your time and I enjoy reading your ramblings.

Brian Higgins
Vice President
Lower Macungie Board Of Commissioners


Anonymous said...

Excellent response. He is correct IMO. It's too bad there wasn't communication about the site before it was posted.

Anonymous said...

Nice selfie O'Hare but you could have put on a shirt!

Anonymous said...

Is that a picture of the Subterranean manslab, having been fattened up on three squares a day? The keyboard looks like what you would expect the inmates to be issued to fake type to keep their fingers limber until they are released.

Anonymous said...

Don't be hating on the Mediterranean manslab. He trades his meat for vegetables at meal time. His vegan diet is still true. He fills up on salads the other prisoners shun. He is working out like crazy.

He is leaner and meaner than ever. he will soon be back as a super ripped and jacked mature Lehigh Valley celebrity.

Free Greggy!!

Anonymous said...

Word out of the pen is that JG is still a vegetarian. he is trading for all the prisoners tossed salads. In order to procure his necessary proteins, he grabs as many nuts as he can get his hands on.

He is an example of dedication to a lifestyle.

michael molovinsky said...

i would like to point out that my page, https://www.molovinskyonallentown.blogspot.com/ has been officially authorized to speak both for The City of Allentown and South Whitehall Township

Ron Beitler said...

Agree with Brian about a social media policy for staff. I just disagreed with most of the rest of the board about asking the EAC to stop posting to the site in the interim. Just didn't think that was necessary in this case. It will take 2 months to draft a policy...

Hopefully we don't get too nuts with this....The policy should be very simple. For volunteer sites ask them to post a disclaimer that the site is run by and views expressed by volunteers and ask for a link to the official website/township pages.

voila. Social media policy as it pertains to volunteers. Related, a wider reaching policy can and should be drafted for departments and staff if the manager feels necessary. We don't have that now. Many townships do.

Bottom line is, we can't control what a volunteer or resident does on social media if they aren't breaking the sites TOS.. other than not-reappoint them I guess? We can suggest, but a formal policy would only apply to staff.

Obviously, it's in the best interest of a volunteer board to play nice with the twp. The establishment of a working relationship within the government structure is essential for a volunteer board effectiveness. We have a great EAC that values this. Demonstrated by them voluntarily suspending their page. They didn't have to.

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM, I thought you were JB Reilly's press guy.

Anonymous said...

Please correct me if I am wrong, however, it was my impression that Bethlehem already received a dedicated percentage of gaming revenue and this pool of funds is the local share pool.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You're correct. But the Gaming law also permits the host city to participate in requests for impact grants.

Anonymous said...

Why the hate at JG? He is the Smokey Mediterranean manslab. The man men want to be and women want to have.

Don't be haters.

Anonymous said...

The BOC is becoming a laughing stock of individuals among the people in LMT, I even hear now there is a father running of one of the sitting Commissioners we are first class alright!

Anonymous said...

WHY doesn't the EAC have its content linked off the town's website? That is what other towns do.

The EAC may be a "volunteer" board, but aren't the members appointed by commissioners?

Anonymous said...

Lmt has gone green.... turf that is. Imagine no more need for irrigation saving the aquifer. No more silt runoff from dirt fields helping NPDES compliance. No more soil nutrient deprivation from occurances of grass. Families can avoid grass stain on clothing now usingmild detergents to wash clothes. More impervious cover as engineered sediment control. So Green.

After that sarcasm, I have to say LMT environmental advisory board is one of the best in the LV for their involvement and the ground they cover...no pun intended.