COUNCILLORS have been given the option to remove the word "offensive" from Bathurst Regional Council's draft social media policy before they adopt it.
Council is set to make a determination on the document on Wednesday, with the policy to apply to councillors only.
To date, only council staff have had to abide by a social media policy but one has been drawn up for councillors in anticipation of the Office of Local Government making it a requirement.
Councillor Alex Christian made it clear from the very beginning that he was not happy with the policy, particularly the inclusion of the word "offensive".
In December, he said it should "terrify anybody that the term offensive is in any sort of document".
And it appears he has support.
There were 10 submissions received from members of the public during the exhibition period, along with two others from councillors.
More than half of the submissions took issue with the inclusion of the word "offensive" in the policy and requested it be deleted from the document.
Mick Golding, who said he was otherwise "all for" the policy, felt it was too difficult to determine what is and isn't offensive.
"The word offensive is open to interpretation and I can see that some may use this as a way to silence those providing the community with the truth," he said.
Marissa McCulkin said the word was "subjective" while Daniel la Velle said the social media policy "stipulates enough protection for individuals without it".
In his report to Wednesday night's monthly meeting, corporate services and finance director Aaron Jones said the word "offensive" was included in the policy to be consistent with other council documents, including the Code of Conduct.
He provided two possible recommendations for councillors to consider.
One is to adopt the policy as it is; the second is to adopt the policy with an amendment that "All occurrences of the word 'offensive' be deleted from the policy".
While councillors can use either of these recommendations, they are also able to put forward their own.
They could decide to do this to address another key concern raised in the submissions, which was the inclusion of a dot point stating that councillors "must not make negative references about council, other council officials, services or any business-related individual or associated organisation".
Both councillors Christian and John Fry wanted the wording to be changed, with Cr Fry suggesting a qualifier such as "without restricting the councillors' right to free speech" be added to the policy.
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