Stephens Co. Implementing Social Media Policy

Stephens County government is implementing a new policy to deal with the issue of social media.

County Commissioners unanimously approved the new policy at their meeting last Tuesday, September 25.

According to Stephens County Administrator Phyllis Ayers, the policy comes recommended by both the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association.

Ayers said it is important to establish such a policy due to the ever-increasing interest in social media.

“This policy helps to strike a reasonable balance between employees’ interest in engaging in social media activity and the county’s interest in preventing disruption or interference with our operations,” said Ayers.

Under the new policy, employees are prohibited from using county computers to engage in social media except as authorized in advance by the county administrator. Also, the policy prohibits employees from posting confidential information of the county or its employees and requires employees to refrain from engaging in social media activity that serves to announce or explain the details of county programs, projects, or events without prior approval.

Ayers said the objective is simply to establish clear guidelines up front.

“We are not taking away an employee’s right to have a Facebook or Myspace page,” said Ayers. “We just do not want it interfering with the county’s business.”

The new policy applies to all county employees.

Violation of the policy will result in disciplinary action according to the county’s policies.