Jefferson County eyes social media policy to allow department Facebook pages

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County is looking at delving into social media, an effort its county administrator says is more complicated than one might think.

Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley told the county Board of Health on Thursday the county is developing a social media policy that would allow the county and its departments to have Facebook pages.

“There is a draft under review,” he said. “It’ll happen.”

Currently departments are not allowed to have Facebook pages, he said. During the meeting, Jefferson County Public Health health educator Karen Obermeyer told the board having a Facebook page would be a cost effective way to spread news about events and campaign efforts.

As an example, she told the board that it costs about $142 for a staff member to hang a flyer up in Brinnon, after accounting for hours worked and miles traveled.

Spending two hours scheduling social media posts targeting specific audiences would cost about $73, she said.

Obermeyer said that many counties in the state use social media to reach their citizens.

Morley told her that a policy allowing that is in the works, but the county has to be sure it is complying with the state Public Records Act.

“Initially it was that we didn’t have the software to archive the records to meet our obligations,” he said. “We’ve been working in the last few months that will allow us to do social media archiving.”

Morley also said the county has to deal with online trolls or discussions about controversial topics getting out of hand.

“One of the things we explored is turning off the public comment function on social media sites so you wouldn’t necessarily have troll-like behavior … and so you don’t have to deal with trying to devote staff resources to counter misinformation on your government site,” he said.

He said it’s an issue the Public Health Department likely wouldn’t face because most of what it does is fairly non-controversial, but he believes the Board of County Commissioners, which sometimes makes controversial policy decisions, could be subject to that type of behavior.

He said the county would need to decide who manages social media accounts.

Commissioner David Sullivan echoed Morley’s concerns.

“We have so many different types of departments,” he said, citing the Juvenile Justice, Public Health and Department of Community Development, among others.

He said another concern is if elected officials begin to respond to people commenting on posts. Because there are only three commissioners, state law prohibits any two commissioners from communicating with each other without providing 24 hours notice.

“It’s one of those places where it seems like a good idea, but it’s a minefield,” Sullivan said.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Ridge ski season opens Saturday

Finally, enough snow falls for winter sports

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Work progresses on the road deck of the main over-water spans at the site of a new U.S. Highway 101 bridge over the Elwha River southwest of Port Angeles on Thursday. The bridge will replace an older nearby span that was determined to have structurally-deficient pier footings. The $36 million project is expected to be completed in December.
Elwha River bridge construction

Work progresses on the road deck of the main over-water spans at… Continue reading

x
Clallam Community Service Awards nominations deadline April 1

Nominations for the 2024 Clallam County Community Service Awards… Continue reading

Road work to begin near Forks

Contractor crews will begin construction of a temporary bridge on… Continue reading

A gate and concrete barricades block the north end of Towne Road as it reaches the new Dungeness River levee on Tuesday northwest of Sequim. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Residents provide Towne Road feedback

More than 30 express opinions on project

Point Hudson Marina slated to be open today

Port of Port Townsend plans grand opening ceremony on April 24

Firefighters extinguished a fire in an RV near Olympic Medical Center on Wednesday in Port Angeles. No one was injured. (Port Angeles Fire Department)
No one injured in RV fire

No one was injured following an RV fire at… Continue reading

tsr
Mobile Healing Clinic to start in Clallam Bay on Monday

RV offers similar MAT services as Sequim facility

Finalists for the 2023 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award include, front row, from left, Carol Labbe and Pauline Olsen. Not pictured is the award recipient, Renne Emiko Brock, who was unable to attend the chamber’s annual awards luncheon on Tuesday. Pictured with Labbe and Olsen are, back row, from left, chamber President Eran Kennedy, chamber Executive Director Beth Pratt and Lorie Fazio, Citizen of the Year committee chair. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Art advocate Brock named Sequim Citizen of Year

Labbe, Olsen finalists for town’s top civic award