Annapolis Mayor Prohibits Commentary on President, National Issues on City Social Media

A Baltimore Sun article (2017-08-06) reported that Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides has instructed city administration officials to refrain from commenting about United States President Donald Trump or national policy issues on social media. The order includes both positive and negative comments and was  issued in response to an Annapolis Police Department Facebook response to a recent Trump remark about how the police should handle certain suspects. From the article:

“This is going to distract us from our core mission of serving the citizens of Annapolis,” Pantelides wrote in the email. “To reiterate do not post anything whether it’s positive or negative about the president or national politics. Focus your time and energy on helping to make the city of Annapolis better.”

The article noted the Pantelides was concerned about the time and resources needed to “deal with the blowback from this,” and that national issues are typically more political than and disconnected from municipal concerns. The order allegedly reinforces a previous unwritten policy about not using city social media platforms to comment on national issues.

The story serves as an example of how many county and municipal governments are struggling to define how to appropriately use official social media accounts.