Grounds for dismissing town employees in Mills ‘Media and Social Media Policy’

CASPER, Wyo. — The Mills Town Council has adopted a new “Media and Social Media Policy” that applies to all town employees.

They adopted this policy during their Wednesday, July 10 meeting.

The policy designates the Town Administrator as the Mills Public Information Officer. That PIO may designate other individuals to assist them in messaging efforts.

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“Only persons designated by the PIO, except where otherwise provided for in this policy, may speak for the Town or any of its Departments,” reads the policy. “Purporting to speak on behalf of the Town, its Departments, or its employees when not authorized under this policy is grounds for dismissal.”

This includes the publication of information in social media in any such instance in which the publication purports or appears to speak for the Town, its Departments or its employees.”

The mayor and other council members are exempt from the restrictions set forth in the policy. The police chief is also authorized to speak without coordinating with the PIO when it pertains to law enforcement matters, but the policy says that this authority may be withdrawn.

The policy states that the town recognizes employee’s rights to hold their own views.

“It is recognized that all employees have the right to express their personal points of view regarding matters of general public concern,” it states. “However, personal points of view may conflict with the Town’s official policy.”

It adds that employees must clearly state when expressing their views that they are doing so as private citizens and not as Town employees.

“While nothing in this policy shall be read to attempt to restrain an employee from voicing his private opinion, all employees shall keep in mind that their employment with the Town is a public trust and that all employees are obligated to keep the best interest of the Town in mind,” the policy states.

“At no time shall a Town employee disparage his fellow employees either singularly or collectively or seek to portray the Town in a negative light simply because they conceive of it as being in their own personal interest.”

Doing so would be grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal, according to the policy.

The policy also states that town employees should not express their private views to the media or via social media while on the clock.

Town Clerk Christine Trumbull provided a copy of the policy to Oil City on Thursday. She said the version she provided does not include some minor changes to the final policy.

The Town of Mills may also be having some IT (Information Technology) issues. Trumbull said she thought the agenda and meeting packet for Wednesday’s meeting had been posted online already, but when Oil City checked it with her on Thursday morning, it was not online.

Trumbull told Oil City one reason the Council adopted the policy was due to auditors recommending the town have such a policy in place.

The copy of the policy obtained by Oil City is available below: