City of Cape Coral wrestles with social media challenges

The city of Cape Coral joined the national debate on social media parameters and protocol for politicians last week when Mayor Marni Sawicki suggested the need for a policy after criticizing three fellow Council members for how they use Facebook.

by The Cape Coral Daily Breeze’s Valarie Harring

December 22, 2016

Sawicki clarified her comment Wednesday, saying that while it might be beneficial for the city, she would not be proposing formal rules for Cape Coral City Council members.

“I don’t think that would be possible,” she said in a telephone interview. “With elected officials, I don’t know how you could have it apply.

“If we could, I’d be happy to comply,” she added.

The local tussle over social media applications began after charter school superintendent Nelson Stephenson accused Sawicki of interference in the operations of the municipal school system, saying she had attempted to intimidate him into rehiring a teacher whose contract had not been renewed for the current school year. Sawicki denied the allegation and fired back, saying Stephenson improperly aired an issue she thought had been resolved to call attention away from a less-than-desirable audit report.

As the accusations flew back and forth, social media blew up. Much of the criticism was aimed at the mayor, who then added the audit report to the next city council agenda, a day ahead of a scheduled Cape Coral Charter School Authority meeting. Critics and supporters for each side filled the Council chambers, with most supporting the school system and Sawicki subsequently taking Rana Erbrick, Jessica Cosden and Richard Leon to task for their actions on Facebook. [READ MORE]

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