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That item was on the consent agenda a list of motions generally reserved for routine housekeeping-type matters and the motion passed along with things like the approval of the minutes of past meetings.
Yow said that, if he'd arrived at the meeting in time, he would have pulled the item off the consent agenda to discuss it.
Yow has been a constant critic of the Guilford County
Information Services (IS) Department which, in just about every other business and government, is called Information Technology, or IT.
Yow said he's frightened to think what might happen once the county's IS Department gets hold of the parks' reservation system.
"People might think they're reserving a picnic shelter but there ain't no telling what they'll get they might end up reserving the Blue Room," Yow said, referring to a frequently used county meeting room on the first floor of the Old Guilford County
The Blue Room would be less than ideal, to say the least, for a family outing.
Yow only has a couple of weeks left on the board, but he said that, up until the very end, he continues to be astonished by the actions of this board.
Yow said, "Anything that makes sense is far and beyond the ability of this board; that's what I've learned in my 12 years as a Guilford County
At the meeting, the commissioners also unanimously approved a new social media policy.
Don Campbell, an Emergency Services supervisor who chaired the county committee that helped form the guidelines, made the presentation to the board. That committee included members from different county departments.
Campbell said it was to Guilford County
's advantage to begin using more social media to communicate with its citizens, and the challenge of his committee was to "set up boundaries" as the county gets into the use of social media. He said many younger citizens are using social media as their primary mode of communication, and he said that would no doubt be a lifelong practice for those users.
He also said that, in the past, when the county has wanted to get information to citizens, it has sent press releases to the media and then had to rely on the press to get the word out. However, using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, he said, the county wouldn't be as dependent on local television stations and newspapers.
"It really gives us a direct line to our citizens," he said.
He said social media is a low-cost form of communication with many benefits, but he warned there were potential pitfalls.
During Campbell's PowerPoint presentation, he showed some newspaper headlines from stories of government employees who ended up in hot water due to their inappropriate use of social media. Two of those headlines read, " Officer fired after posting about ticket" and, "Teacher fired for Facebook snooping."
The new county policy, unanimously adopted by the commissioners at the meeting, states, "Employees should not co-mingle their personal and professional lives when administering social media sites on behalf of the County." Also, "There must be a business necessity for employees to have access to social media on County Computers or other applicable devices."
The rules states that "good judgement" must be used at all times and adds, "it's a good practice for employees to consider that their supervisor, family members and peers may read everything they post."
The policy bans any postings that embarrass coworkers or supervisors, and it forbids county employees from posting confidential, medically sensitive or proprietary information. It also states that the content on each social media site will be monitored regularly to assure that county employees are following the rules.
According to the policy, "If an employee's social media presence shows an apparent connection to Guilford County
, they are to make it clear that the views expressed on the social media platform are theirs alone and do not represent the views of Guilford County
Campbell didn't mention Guilford County
Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen, but Thigpen maintains a thriving personal Facebook page on which he sometimes posts items related to the Register of Deeds office. For instance, in the past, he's used his page to get the word out that the deeds office was closed due to inclement weather. That same Facebook page includes many political and personal postings, and there's a link to the county's website. However, Thigpen does make it clear that his Facebook page is a personal page.
There is, in addition, an official Guilford County
Facebook page for the Register of Deeds office, and, while Thigpen's own page has a very impressive 5,184 friends, the official Register of Deeds Facebook page has only one friend, Thigpen.
After the Nov. 1 meeting, one county official said Thigpen didn't need to lose any sleep about the new county policy: "Jeff can do what he likes he's elected," she said.
At the meeting, the board also approved a tax-exempt loan for $454,000 for the Alamance Community Fire District to purchase a new fire truck, and the commissioners adopted a new policy that gives the county manager the right to exempt special events put on by area nonprofits from paying fees and other charges that the county would otherwise collect for such an event.
At the end of the meeting, the commissioners held a two-hour closed session to discuss a personnel matter as well as the acquisition of real estate. Sheriff BJ Barnes and other Sheriff's Department officials were in the closed session with the commissioners. The county has been in negotiations with Koury Corp. to buy two buildings in a corporate park just south of I-40 for future expansion of the Sheriff's Department. No action was taken when the board came out of the closed session.
The next commissioners meeting, on Thursday, Nov. 15, will be the last scheduled meeting before a smaller nine-member Board of Commissioners takes over running the county and some newly elected commissioners are sworn in.
That is a truly historic event because the current 11-member board structure which has meant Guilford County
had the largest board of commissioners in the state was set up by Democrats in 1992 in an attempt to assure Democratic control of the board. That was successful as, for the last 20 years, with the exception of two years in the '90s, the board has had a Democratic majority.