SPRINGFIELD, MASS. — Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today that he has issued an Executive Order implementing a social media policy for all non-bargaining municipal employees; but with the intent to strongly urge labor unions to “do the right thing and honor this edict immediately.” The policy is intended to assist City Employees in making responsible decisions about their use of social media.
This comes in light of the city receiving national attention when it was reported Springfield Police officer Conrad Lariviere allegedly made a comment on a MassLive.com article from his Facebook account on a post about a fatal car crash that occurred during a rally where white nationalists clashed with counter protestors, writing: “Hahahaha love this, maybe people shouldn’t block roads.”
Mayor Sarno stated in regards to the new social media policy, “Though there are existing policies on harassment, anti-bullying, and professional conduct, I wanted a more specific and separate policy on this matter. We are committed to ensuring City employee’s use of social media does not violate Federal or State privacy, copyright, defamation or discrimination laws. This policy is not intended to restrict anyone’s legal rights, such as the right to engage in responsible social media discussions. Rather, this policy is designed to help ensure our employees conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the City’s mission of service and core values of respect and dignity toward the public, personnel we work with, and to each other.”
Director of Personnel and Labor Relations, William Mahoney, noted that this policy applies to staff in all Departments including but not limited to; employees, volunteers, interns, and other municipal personnel. However, the policy’s applies only to non-bargaining personnel.
“We are in the process of working with our Unions to bargain over the impacts of the policies. To date, we have reached agreement with the District Chief’s Union in the Fire Department, and we are well into the process of bargaining the impacts with the Fire Fighter’s Union. As to the Police Department, Commissioner Barbieri and his team will continue further discussions. Other unions will also be engaged in the interactive process until we can be in a position to implement across the board,” Mahoney said.
The policy applies to activity on the Internet including, but not limited to, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, etc., as well as other websites (such as web blogs) – basically any Internet site where you can post information and/or images and communicate electronically.