COUNCILLORS will be expected to show some restraint when it comes to their social media accounts next year.
Bathurst Regional Council has drafted its social media policy for councillors in anticipation of the Office of Local Government introducing a requirement for all NSW councils to develop one.
Councillor Alex Christian, who is the most active on social media, was quick to raise his concerns about the document at last week's meeting.
ALSO MAKING NEWS: Banning scooters should be 'last resort', Rudge says
He highlighted a point in the policy which stated that the mayor and councillors "must not make comments or speak on behalf of council, commit to any actions or communicate materials that are offensive, obscene, pornographic, threatening, harassing, abusive or defamatory".
Although he agreed with most of it, he slammed the use of the word 'offensive'.
"People are offended about Christmas, people are offended about Easter, people are offended about Australia Day; if someone's offended, that's not my problem," Cr Christian said.
"It's someone's personal feeling, so I think the very term offensive - jeeze, you couldn't post anything because people these days are offended about absolutely everything."
He added that it should "terrify anybody that the term offensive is in any sort of document".
Council's general manager, David Sherley, pointed out that the use of the word offensive was consistent with other council policies, including the Code of Conduct, which also uses the term.
Cr Christian was also concerned that the requirement to "not make negative references about council, other council officials, services or any business-related individual or associated organisation" could completely silence councillors.
However, Mr Sherley clarified that councillors are allowed to express their disagreement with policy items or comments made by individuals, provided the comments aren't personal attacks.
"The idea of negative references is where anyone is attacking individuals and passing comments about those persons, that's inappropriate, but your role as a councillor is to make comments about the direction and the policy of council and what you believe in," he said.
Mr Sherley advised councillors that the policy could be altered prior to adoption.
They later resolved to put it on public exhibition for a period of 28 days. Councillors can also make submissions during that time.
If submissions are received, a new report will be prepared for consideration.