REED CITY — A new Reed City Facebook page was discussed as a solution to council members online etiquette and another way to get information out to the community.
The question of how council members should use and interact on social media platforms, specifically Facebook, was brought to the council by member Carol Tillotson.
Tillotson was worried about potential discussions that may be looked at as deliberation on social media platforms.
“I don’t want someone to come up and say ‘Oh, there’s a quorum of city council people having a meeting,’” said Tillotson. “It could be taken as a violation of public meetings because someone could interpret it that way.”
Tillotson brought up a recent comment made by Mayor Pro Tem Dan Burchett on the Let’s Talk Reed City Facebook page in regards to a skate park. He said on the page thathe agreed that the city should have one as many areas around do.
City Manager Ron Howell and City Attorney Cynthia Wotila agreed with Tillotson that guidelines should be put in place to make sure nothing is taken out of context.
“I would air on the side of caution. If you post something out there that is going to start scrolling through a thread, if you’re in the same thread on the same topic, discussion is fine but if you are deliberating toward a decision that’s when you run into issues,” Wotila said. She said she believes the cityshould have a policy and have somebody act as a liaison to monitor and ensure that the right information is being presented without a discussion between the whole council.
After discussing the issues that might come up with comments on social media pages, it was determined that Mayor Trevor Guiles and Burchett, who recently attended to a seminar on the topic of members of government and social media, were to come up with a list of guidelines for council members to follow when interacting on social media.
A new Facebook page was discussed to help get information out to the public rather than the Let’s Talk Reed City page or the Reed City website.
“We don’t really have much of a website,” said Howell. “And this will be a good way to get more information out there without starting conversations among the council.”
While some members use Let’s Talk Reed City, Howell would like a more neutral page to be used for getting information out to the community that members can direct to.
“(Bailey) already has an established presence on that particular page,” said Howell. “Now, I have no issues with (Bailey) but it would be a good idea to have something that the council as a whole establishes.”
The Facebook page would be used as a way to not only get information out about meetings, events and projects in Reed City but the council also brought up potentially live streaming their meetings on their page.
“That would create a much larger audience to be able to attend or look back on the meetings,” said Howell.
Nothing was decided on and won’t be until the list of guidelines come in.