Three-part recommendation presented by staff on how the qRD communicates information to the public
Directors of the qathet regional district (qRD) received recommendations to modify the communications and public engagement policy.
At the August 18 Committee of the Whole meeting, directors received a three-part recommendation, for the regional board to amend the policy based on staff recommendations, have the complaints and enforcement policy reviewed, and bring back a policy. revised to directors, and to adopt a policy on social media.
Electoral Area E Director Andrew Fall said the proposed policy changes were good and it made sense to remove the complaints stream as it is a separate issue. Having a detailed social media policy also makes sense, he added.
Communications adviser Shelley Termuende said the amendments to the communications policy came from recommendations put forward by consultants the regional district had hired to develop the strategy.
“In order to streamline this policy, we have modified it slightly,” Termuende said.
Electoral Area D Director and the Chairman’s All Committee, Sandy McCormick, said they were pleased with what had been done to change the policy and that it would be an improvement.
She adds, however, that there are situations that fall through the cracks and she will add a fourth recommendation that the board refer the policy to the board’s strategic planning process.
“The reason I want to fire him, rather than make a change now, is because I don’t know if it should be council policy to contact a community group when their budget is cut without any warning” , McCormick said. . “I don’t know if that should be policy or standard practice in the interests of common sense and courtesy.”
McCormick said regarding the press releases, she saw them in the press and knew nothing about them.
“All of us as elected officials are responsible for what the regional district does, so it would be helpful when you send out press releases if you send them to all council members, so that we at least know that the information is available, should we be questioned,” McCormick said.
The directors unanimously adopted the recommendation to the board for the adoption of the amended communication policy. The committee also passed a motion asking the board to direct staff to conduct a comprehensive review of the complaints and enforcement policy.
When it comes to social media, Fall said it’s good to have a social media policy.
“We’ve talked about it in the past and we’re all aware of the risks of social media, but we also see the need for it, or at least the motivation for some announcements,” Fall said. “Like it or not, a lot of the population gets a lot of information through social media. For starters, it’s great, and we can monitor it. If I understand politics correctly, it’s about mainly from the use of social media to direct people to the qRD website and other sources of information.
Electoral Area B Director Mark Gisborne said he had an issue with part of the policy that refers to accountability on personal social media accounts. He said regional district staff and directors must state that the opinions are their own and do not reflect the views of the qRD. He asked if admins have to say in every post that their views are their own.
Gisborne said the policy also states that staff and administrators should not post personal comments or status updates that reflect negatively on the integrity of the organization, or voice grievances that should be directed to staff of human ressources.
“I understand why regional district staff should be in this policy, however, trustees, as elected officials, are in a unique position,” Gisborne added.
He proposed an amendment to remove the reference to administrators from the policy in the section on accountability for personal accounts. The motion was not seconded.
The recommendation was adopted, as Gisborne opposed it.
McCormick then moved a motion that communications with community groups regarding budget issues be discussed at a strategic planning session. The motion is adopted.