Town of Boothbay

TIF tiff spurs Facebook policy

Mon, 11/04/2013 - 8:30am

In Boothbay, public discussions regarding the TIF and municipal bond referendum questions have generally been divided. But to the consternation of some local residents, the Town of Boothbay’s Facebook page has been a stronghold of single-mindedness.

Other than Selectman Chuck Cunningham’s letter to editor of the Boothbay Register, which was posted on the town’s Facebook page at his request, only opinions that support questions 2 and 3 have been posted or shared on the page by Town Manager Jim Chaousis.

When Cunningham’s letter in opposition was posted on October 31, Laurie Knowlton commented in support of a no vote, and then to her surprise found her comments disappeared.

“I was censored and blocked,” Knowlton said. ”Jim (Chaousis) deleted the comments I made in support of a no vote. Everything on the town’s Facebook page is pro, pro, pro.”

Chaousis said he did block Knowlton from further posting on the town's page and when he did that Facebook automatically hid her comments from view. “I felt her comments were getting out of hand,” Chaousis said, “I am trying to make sure the dialog is factual and respectful to all points of view.” 
By the next day, Knowlton and Chaousis had spoken and her access to the town’s page and her original comments were reinstated.

Chaousis said he and the selectmen have discussed whether the town’s Facebook page should represent all positions or the town’s position.

“This is uncharted territory for us. For right now, the town’s Facebook page will represent the town’s position,” Chaousis said, “But we have scheduled a discussion for the next selectmen’s meeting about developing a Facebook policy.”

The next Boothbay selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for November 13 at 7 p.m. at the town office.