No tweets, no texts, no blogs for city workers

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't expect to follow the mayor on Twitter any time soon.

Don't think Greencastle City Police will be texting you about their latest traffic enforcement efforts.

And rest assured, the Board of Works won't be blogging about any business.

For Facebook, private e-mail activity and use of cell phones for personal business will be strictly forbidden in the workplace once the Greencastle City Council agrees to final approval of a new Personnel Policy update.

The City Council approved the modifications on first reading at its March 8 meeting and earlier this week the Greencastle Board of Works added its endorsement to the new rules that set out in black-and-white accepted business practices regarding new technology in the workplace.

City Attorney Laurie Hardwick said the current policy already bans the use of city equipment for personal business. The modified policy specifically addresses the addition of sections on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and blogging on city time and/or city equipment.

"This is very typical of trends we're seeing with the new technology," Hardwick said of the first personnel policy update in two years.

"As we have all seen on the news lately, people are using public equipment for personal use or on work time ... blogging, cell phone use, texting while driving ... all those sorts of things."

The measure is considered a standard policy, the city attorney said. Forthcoming state law will make some of the actions, such a texting while driving, illegal anyway in the future.

The changes also note that city employees are responsible for the content of any blog sites in which they identify themselves as city workers or make statements that might damage the city's reputation or business interests. Employees making such blog references may be subject to legal and disciplinary action resulting from any unlawful statements or city policy violations within their blogging activity.

Another element of the personnel policy update makes every applicant and employee of the city subject to ongoing criminal background checks, including examination of driving records. All city employees who drive as part of conducting city business must have a valid driver's license and acceptable driving record. An unacceptable driving record, absence of a valid license or refusal to provide necessary documentation may result in denial or termination of employment.

The personnel measure also alters the sick leave policy for city employees of 20 years or more. Such employees may receive a payout of $50 per day for unused sick time up to 36 days, according to the update.

Hardwick noted that policy change should be more "cost-effective in the long run" than allowing longtime employees to burn up all their unused sick days before officially retiring. That option can leave a department severely shorthanded or can result in additional costs to fund interim manpower if necessary.

Board of Works members Sue Murray, Trudy Selvia and Thom Morris unanimously approved the policy changes at Wednesday afternoon's meeting at City Hall.

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  • no matter how illegal it is, i will still see city workers texting while driving.. even the city councel does it to

    -- Posted by lleonard47 on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 12:06 AM
  • I had a State Police officer pass me and he was talking on the cell phone while holding the phone with his left hand, he was typeing on his PC with his right hand and was driving at a speed well above the posted 55 on US 40. Also a practice a lot of Police have is to click their seat belt behind them so they can exit the car in a hurry. So don't expect the rules to be followed.

    -- Posted by Trying hard on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 7:07 AM
  • If you will check the seat belt law, one of the exemptions is for law enforcement officers. They don't have to wear one. Another exemption is if one is physically unable to wear one due to health or other conditions. (very broad exemption which does NOT have to documented by a doctor)

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 7:28 AM
  • I'm kinda of curious if the city employee's are also band from smoking in city vehicles??

    -- Posted by Casey7780 on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 1:49 PM
  • Ha! This is really funny...all you have to do is look on the page any of these employees..their facebooking all the time..check the times of their postings out..hilarious!

    -- Posted by Peacefullyme on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 3:21 PM
  • I think these rules sould be applied to county workers as well. Maybe they can add something about the misuse of gov owned cars and trucks.

    -- Posted by worrieddaddy on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 8:42 PM
  • Polices are fine ;but when do think someone will enforce it? Just look at the junk vehichels, the trashy properties and the abandone homes around town !!

    -- Posted by Blue6 on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 9:30 PM
  • Probably around the same time someone starts enforcing proper grammar and spelling on comments?

    -- Posted by WTFRUthinkin on Sat, Mar 19, 2011, at 11:19 PM
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