An alleged controversy on Facebook may spur some social media policy changes in Bremerton, Wash.
A Bremerton City Council member responding on his private page to comments from citizens on a community forum led to a public records request and the opening of a Pandora’s Box about how elected officials are communicating online about city business, according to Lori Smith, legislative assistant for the council. As a result, the council met on Wednesday, Oct. 29, to discuss a social media strategy.
While Bremerton has social media policies in place, it doesn’t have a formal page established. But that may soon change.
“The council wants to have their own city council of Bremerton Facebook page, where if one of the council members felt they needed to clarify something out there, they would do it on that page, so the IT department could back up all the comments,” Smith said. “I think that’s what’s happening.”
Government Technology reached out to Bremerton City Council President Greg Wheeler for more information on what the city was doing and why, but he didn't elaborate, explaining that "everything is a work in progress right now."
“All we’re doing is fact and information gathering – it’s really early in the process,” Wheeler said.
Further details on Wednesday’s council meeting were unavailable at press time. Bremerton does not live stream its proceedings. Government Technology will continue to monitor the city’s progress on this issue.
Brian Heaton was a writer for Government Technology magazine from 2011 to mid-2015.