First, kudos to the village government for the new website enhancements that make following the work of the village council at its meetings very simple and accessible. This is a genuine step ahead and we applaud the village for rolling this out.
Second, kudos to the village government for anticipating the quandaries and the conflicts that social media – Facebook, Twitter, blogs – can pose to a government body. This is uncharted territory. The new policy was OKd by the usual 3-2 split on Monday.
But once more Mayor Anthony Calderone overreaches. We’ve chided him for the Mayor’s Office of Public Affairs which tried to choke off this paper’s access to village staff by funneling all inquiries to him. That chokehold has eased some in recent weeks, but the policy, we believe, remains.
Now he is attempting to exert the same control by saying that no employee can speak for the village without the mayor’s approval. More chilling still is asking village-employed bloggers to “please let the Village Mayor know you are writing [a blog]. The Village Mayor may choose to visit from time to time to understand your point of view.” Well, frankly, the Village Mayor is creeping us out.
Controlling and influencing free speech is not the role of a town’s mayor.