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The Pell City council approved a new social media policy for municipal employees this week.

PELL CITY -- The Pell City council approved a social media policy for municipal employees, covering both on-the-job and personal use.

“With numerous departments utilizing social media regularly, along with individual use by employees, it is necessary that a policy be implemented to provide guidance as to the level of conduct expected,” said City Manager Brian Muenger.

He told the council, which approved the policy Monday night, that municipal staff reviewed and considered dozens of sample policies during the process of drafting the new city policy.

The new policy covers both on-the-job use and personal use of social media platforms.

“The Social Media Policy establishes a standard for employees who identify themselves as employees of the City of Pell City or refer to Pell City in personal use of social media,” the new policy states.

In accordance with the new policy, employees can use the city’s electronic communication systems for non-business social media use, if it takes place primarily during non-working time, like before and after a regular shift, during break time or at lunch.

The use of the city’s electronic communication systems must be brief and limited in scope, so as to not interfere with job responsibilities, and the use of city’s equipment must be appropriate in nature and not violate any laws, regulations or ethics standards of Pell City.

“Inappropriate postings could expose personnel to personal liability for defamation of character, violation of intellectual property rights and interference with the contractual relations of others,” the policy states. “Violation of this policy can subject personnel to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.”

Muenger said as with all new policies, staff will be provided with training on the content and will be required to acknowledge receipt of the policy.

“The policy asserts the city’s position on the utilization and management of social media to provide management, administration and oversight that applies to all employees,” the policy states. “This policy is not meant to address one particular form of social media; rather social media in general, as advances in technology will occur and new tools will emerge. The policy applies regardless of whether an employee is using a city-provided device or system or a personal device or system.”

In other matters at this week’s meeting, the council:

  • Tabled the condemnation of property at 107 Lakeview Drive;

  • Denied the condemnation of properties at 113 Third St. N and 2713 Martin St. S;

  • Approved the condemnation of property at 160 Circle Drive;

  • Approved fixing costs for weed abatement for land on Masters Road owned by Freda Rigsby;

  • Approved the purchase of five new police vehicles from the state bid list;

  • Approved the bid submitted by Brasher Electronics for the outfitting of the new police vehicles;

  • Approved revisions to certain job descriptions in the Water and Wastewater Departments and adding an additional position in the Wastewater Department;

  • Approved rescheduling the March 25 council meeting to March 21 at the same regularly scheduled time (5:30 p.m. work session, 7 regular meeting);

  • Approved annexing property the city owns on Old Coal City Road with a RA (residential agriculture) zoning; and

  • Approved First Bank of Alabama and National Bank of Commerce as depositories of city funds.