Board of Ethics Advises Social Media Awareness for City Office Candidates

May 25, 2023

Board of Ethics Advises Social Media Awareness for City Office Candidates

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In February 2023, Mike Brandi, Chairman of the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee, filed a complaint with the Saratoga Springs Board of Ethics regarding posts to the official City Facebook page which he said promoted campaign pages of Mayor Ron Kim and Commissioner of Finance Minita Sanghvi.

The complaint alleged that the posts violated Section 13-3(k) of the Code of Ethics which states, among other things, that officers or employees not use the City “workplace” to influence any person to participate in an election campaign or political event or to contribute to a political party, committee, campaign or candidate.

The City Board of Ethics returned a two-page response to Brandi’s inquiry on May 17 regarding the matter.

The Board, in a 4-0 ruling, said that as the City’s Ethics policy does apply to the City’s social media practices, and in finding a social media site officially created by and maintained by the city as a “workplace,” that ”the Board must find that the postings did not comply with Section 13-3 (k).”

Additionally, the Board added: “In reaching its conclusions it finds no intent on the part of either Council member to act contrary to the Code. It will advise, however, that in the future all candidates for office have a responsibility to be aware of, and to instruct their campaign staff on, the requirements of Section 13-3(k).”  

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