In this age, anything you do or say can go viral on the Internet in an instant – whether you set it in motion or not.
Given that, Ottawa County Engineer David Brunkhorst believes the county commissioners should consider employee manual changes specifically aimed at social media.
He contends a more detailed policy on social media use could protect both the workers and the employer.
“It’s a matter of public responsibility, privacy rights of the employees, especially in this day when you can watch so much on YouTube and Facebook,” Brunkhorst said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Earlier this month, during a regular commissioners meeting, the engineer suggested the three-man board work with others to outline a policy reflective of the rapidly changing social media sites such as Twitter.
“We are not going to stifle anybody,” Brunkhorst added. “But they are responsible for what they say as a representative of the county.”
Brunkhorst realizes, he said, that county officials should not infringe on government workers during their personal time. However, sometimes that line can become blurred.
“It’s just a common sense thing. We’re just trying to protect them and everybody else before something unfortunate happens … because once it’s out there you can’t get it back.”
Dog fees rise
The cost of owning a dog is going up in Ottawa County.
Ottawa County Commissioners recently approved a number of price increases at the request of Ottawa County Dog Warden JoLynn Hetrick.
The prices take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, according to commissioners’ office records. Dog license sales begin Dec. 1.
Dog licenses will increase from $18 per animal to $20, Hetrick said.
She could not recall the last time the county bumped the fees but said the increase is necessary.
“It has not been covering expenses,” she explained of annual revenue. “We needed to adjust our numbers to cover those costs.”
The dog warden office, located at 8400 W. Ohio 163 in Salem Township, is currently housing seven dogs. And state law requires the dog warden and her staff to be actively on the streets daily checking on the animal population and complaints.
The new fee schedule is:
•$20 per dog license
•$100 for a kennel fee
•Sale of dog, $25 per dog (unchanged)
•Surrender fee - $40 with license, $60 without license
•$5 tag fee for dogs four months and under
•Impound fee - $20 per day
•Duplicate tag – 50 cents (unchanged)