A proposed list of updates and changes to the county's HR policy book includes a new section on employee use of social media.

The move comes following the firing of former EMS employee John Pethel for a post he made on Facebook in June where he said "shoot them all" in reference to protesters in Gainesville.

Pethel has appealed his firing, which was recently heard before an outside hearing officer. During that hearing, officials were asked about the county's policy on social media. County manager Kevin Poe said the county had not yet adopted a specific policy regarding employee use of social media.

Among other proposed changes in the county's HR manual, a new section would be created that specifically addresses the social media issue. One of the items appears to address situations similar to the Pethel incident:

"Users shall not engage in any blogging or social media posting that may harm or tarnish the image, reputation and/or goodwill of the County and /or any of its Users. Users are also prohibited from making any discriminatory, disparaging, defamatory or harassing comments when blogging or otherwise engaging in any conduct prohibited by the Jackson County Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy."

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners was presented with the proposed HR changes at its Dec. 7 meeting. The board could take a vote on the updates at its Dec. 21 meeting.

In other business, the BOC discussed:

•a speed zone ordinance/radar list, which allows the county to use radar speed detection on certain stretches of road.

•a contract for wood debris grinding for the Jackson County Transfer Station. He lowest bid was from Roll Off Systems, of Statham, with a $96,000 monthly rate or $4,800 daily rate.

•a resolution for county road ownership for the Georgia Department of Transportation LMIG program.

APPROVED ITEMS

The board approved the following items:

•a resolution to adopt the five-year comprehensive plan update.

•reappointing Donna Geiger and Max Allen to the county airport authority for a three-year term.

•reappointing Mark Palmer to the board of adjustment for a four-year term.

•reappointing Dr. Joanna Suarez to the board of health for a five-year term.

•reappointing Joe Hicks to the industrial development authority for a five-year term.

•reappointing Jamie Dove and Tom Page to the solid waste management authority for a two-year term.

•reappointing Josh Huskins, Jay Phillips and Jimmy Peck to the parks and recreation advisory board.

•reappointing Marty Clark to the planning commission.

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