City is violating employees' rights

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A letter to the Editor by Tim Jones

I just read the article about the city approving a policy limiting employee social media use. I found many components of the “policy” interesting.

For instance, a city employee posting a complaint about someone (i.e. a supervisor) or an issue within the city could result in disciplinary action. City Attorney John Miller said he believes the policy states that, “posting that information would be inappropriate.”  

Folks, that is an infringement on free speech rights.  
“ ... To a certain extent your freedom of speech is limited, if you want to have a job.” Really John?

So, for what reason are our free speech rights written in the United States Constitution? Wasn’t it to protect speech that, maybe, politicians didn’t like?  Wasn’t it written to protect speech that people may disagree with? What other reason would you need your speech protected?

This policy as it is written is an absolute disembowelment of a city worker’s free speech rights!
If a city worker has the opinion that Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young is an idiot, he should have the right to say that — even on social media and even if it makes Mayor Young mad! Otherwise, the First Amendment of the Constitution means nothing!

Miller made a comment in reference to the legality of the policy that, “I don’t think there would be anything illegal about it.”  

What law school did you go to, John? Seems that you and Obama studied the US Constitution under the same shade tree!

When a government entity makes a policy that, in essence, disallows an employee to voice a personal opinion concerning a supervisor or work situation (excluding things like police officers commenting on ongoing police investigations, etc.) under the threat of being fired, that is illegal!

What if a city employee becomes aware of a safety issue that no one will address? Like, let’s say, city employees riding across a busy highway in the bucket of a front-end loader? (Yep, I have video of it).  

Something else comes to mind when I hear of a “policy” like this. Libya. Egypt. Iran. Didn’t those governments punish their people for posting notifications of atrocities on social media websites?

A couple of things I can say, I agree with Mr. Stan McKinney, Ms. Vangie Ford and Ms. Vickie Mullins. However, I disagree with Mayor Tony Young that the policy is “very detailed and rather clear.”

It seems that it is totally convoluted — and illegal. Seems like the city should be looking at a reasonable approach like that of Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers.

One idea that I have been tossing around since I read this article is creating some social media websites so that if a city employee wants their opinion posted on a social media website and wishes to remain anonymous, I can post it for them as long as it’s not vulgar or libelous.

Donations would be accepted, but there would be no set charge ... just seemed like a good career opportunity.

Tim Jones
Taylor County