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Thornville’s new social media policy questioned



Dear Editor and Thornville Villagers:

In your October 1, 2016 article titled “Thornville council members battle over social media policy,” Mayor Gavin Renner stated, “The proposed council rules for social media are about protecting the village from a lawsuit for what a public official might say online when they are representing themselves and their position on issues.”

The following was posted to the public Facebook account of Council Woman Olivia Newbold by Mayor Gavin Renner on June 28, 2016 at 9:41 p.m.: “Are you accusing Village Council of ignoring the public interest and being self-serving in a public forum on Facebook? Do you with to file charges against certain council members pursuant to Ohio Revised Code? Do you have concrete evidence and proof that Council is ignoring the public interest in favor of their own interest? Shall we hold executive session at the next Council meeting to discuss your allegations or would you prefer to continue to discuss during Council Comments in public meetings? Please cite specific examples of the interests that the Council is taking on and the interests of residents that are being ignored. Provide a list with specific citations so we may all be aware of the self-interests to which you allude? Have you contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or the Ohio Ethics Commission to make them aware of your concerns? You may consider this request a Public information request pursuant under Ohio Sunshine Law. Please provide the evidence you have to support your allegations. I will cc Council Clerk Danielle Lovett on this request.”

After posting the comment, Mayor Gavin Renner deleted it. If Facebook posts are a public record, as the new social media policy suggests, isn’t it a violation of the Ohio Records Act to delete and destroy a public record? My question to council is, “What rule do you have in place that protects the village from a lawsuit for what the mayor posts to social media?”

Beth Dannaher
Thornville



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