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Florala city staff can’t use social websites at work

The City of Florala will soon join the list of employers who say “no” to employees using company time and equipment to update their social networking Web sites.

At Monday’s meeting, council members agreed to amend their personnel manual to include a policy against creating, maintaining or contributing to web logs (blogs) or any social networking site such as MySpace, Facebook or Twitter while on company time.

The reasoning — “to protect the integrity of its computers and assets, to ensure employees do not use city equipment or time for personal use and to protect the integrity of the city.”

The policy does allow for the “conduct” on employee off duty time only.

“I think the policy is self explanatory,” said Mayor Robert Williamson.

The policy goes on to outline guidelines about posts regarding work-related issues, and how to test whether or not a comment is appropriate to post.

“You should assume that people, including co-workers, citizens and citizens’ family members, are reading your postings,” the policy read. “One test suggested for evaluating the appropriateness of blog content is whether you would be embarrassed if your supervisor read the posting.”

The policy will go into effect when the city adopts its new personnel manual, which is slated for January.

In other business, the council:

approved the purchase of two wireless Internet air cards for police department patrol cars.

adopted an updated policy concerning road blocks for fund-raising purposes. Parents must now sign permission slips to give release for their children to participate in a road block, and the minimum age for participating is now 15.

authorized an additional $5,000 retainer for city attorney John Peek, who is representing the city in a lawsuit filed by local pharmacist Charles Smith concerning the way business licenses for pharmacies are calculated.

appropriated $4,100 to repair a culvert on Begonia Street and $1,000 to purchase rain suits for street department workers.

declared a 20-foot strip of alleyway behind the old B&H Contracting office as surplus property and conveyed the property to the new owner.