McLean County has adopted a social media policy, though County Board members exempted themselves from the new guidelines.
The County Board on Tuesday also renamed the campground road entrance to Comlara Park “Wasson Way” in honor of retiring McLean County Administrator Bill Wasson, who previously served 22 years as the county Parks and Recreation director.
The County Board unanimously adopted the new social media policy that sets guidelines for county staff, elected officials and vendors on using the county’s official social media sites.
The board approved member Jacob Beard’s request to exclude county board members from the policy.
“We clearly do not speak for the county. We speak for ourselves, and in communicating with constituents we would not want to be limited in that way,” said Beard, a Bloomington Republican.
The policy outlines disciplinary action for employees who violate it, including dismissal, but there’s no mention of disciplinary action for elected leaders, though Wasson said the county policy applies to them too.
“The system that we have in place is set up to obtain compliance with the policy as with virtually the entire county code, we worked to ensure the policies can be implemented for both appointed and elected department heads,” Wasson said. “Our expectation is that we have set in place guidance that can help all of our department heads.
The policy says county social media sites are not to be used for campaigning and those using personal accounts are not authorized to speak on behalf of the county.
Wasson said the county started developing the new policy last fall as it was preparing the rollout of its redesigned website.
Last November, the McLean County Clerk’s Facebook page was taken offline for what GLT was told was going to be a reconstruction that would last about six months. The page remains deactivated.
Wasson said he did not know to what extent the Facebook page’s hiatus may have been tied to the new policy or when it might be restored online.
During the county clerk’s campaign last fall, supporters of Clerk Kathy Michael’s opponent claimed Michael improperly blocked users from the clerk’s official Facebook page.
Meanwhile, McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre honored Wasson for his nearly 34 years with the county, including the last eight as its administrator.
Wasson has played a key role in guiding the county’s various mental health initiatives, which includes the McLean County Jail expansion and the FUSE program, which the County Board formally adopted on Tuesday as a way to provide more help to those who are having serious and chronic mental health problems that cause them to be frequent users of the criminal justice system.
McIntrye said Wasson has led by example.
“He’s focused on being a problem solver through innovative thinking, has encouraged all of us to set aside our differences and work together for the good of the county, and has tried to end each day with more items in the win column than in the (loss) column,” McIntyre told the board.
Wasson deflected praise to the county board for setting the policy and to staff, who he calls the "true believers."
“They don’t all believe in the same thing, specifically, but it makes it easy when people care about what they do every day and care about improving citizens’ lives,” Wasson said.
Wasson is retiring June 1.
Wasson added he’s been spending many early mornings and late evenings working with incoming County Board Administrator Camille Rodriguez on the transition as she moves over from the McLean County Health Department, which she has run since January 2018.
When asked what advice he would offer his successor, Wasson said Rodriguez should “trust her intuition, utilize our true believers within the organization and work actively and communicate actively with our (County) Board members so they can make the best decisions possible.”
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