TOWN OF WATERBORO INTERNET & ELECTRONIC MAIL POLICY

 

I. Purpose

 

Electronic mail, Internet and telecommunications access are resources made available to town employees to communicate with each other, other governmental entities, companies and individuals for the benefit of the Town of Waterboro.

 

II. Policy

 

The Town of Waterboro’s Electronic Mail System (e-mail) is designed to facilitate town business communication among employees and other business associates for messages or memoranda.  Since no computer system is completely secure, the e-mail system is not intended to transmit sensitive materials, such as personnel decisions and other similar information, which may be more appropriately communicated, by written memorandum or personal conversation.

 

The e-mail system is Town property and intended for town business.  It must be understood that use of this system is a privilege, which may be limited or removed if the privilege is abused at any time or for any reason, at the sole discretion of the Town of Waterboro.  The system is not to be  used for employee personal gain or to support or advocate for non-town related business or purposes.  All data and other electronic messages within this system are the property of the Town of Waterboro.  E-mail messages have been found to be public records and may be subject to the Right to Know laws, depending on their content.

 

In addition, the Town, through its Selectmen and Town Administrator reserves the right to review the contents of employee’s e-mail communication when necessary for Town business purposes.  Employees may not intentionally intercept, eavesdrop, record, read, alter or receive other persons’ e-mail messages without proper authorization.

 

The Town of Waterboro owns and administers the necessary software licenses to provide access to e-mail and Internet services.  Employees may not rent, copy or loan the software or its documentation.  The Town has invested much time and money to secure its electronic systems from intrusion and harmful viruses.  Therefore, employees may not provide alternative software to access the system.  Employees may be held responsible for any damages caused by using unauthorized software or viruses they introduce into the Town system.  Department heads are responsible for the implementation and adherence of this policy within their departments.

 

 

 

 

III. Procedures

 

A.     General Information of Passwords

 

While an employee may have a confidential password, users should be aware that this does not mean that the system is for personal confidential communication, nor does it suggest that e-mail is the property right of the employee.  The use of the e-mail system is for Town business.  Passwords should be periodically changed to ensure security of the e-mail system.  Users should not share their passwords with anyone other than his or her supervisor may require.   Employee’s passwords shall be kept on file with the Town Administrator

 

B. Internet Use

 

The Internet provides the town with significant access and dissemination of information to individuals outside of the Town.  The use of the Internet system for access and dissemination is intended to serve Town business.  Like all e-mail messages, Internet messages are capable of being forwarded without the express permission of the original author.  Internet messages are also routinely passed through routers before they reach their final destination.  A message is “touched” many times before it gets to its recipient and the message author should be aware of this.  Therefore, users must use caution in the transmission and dissemination of messages outside of the Town and must comply with all state and federal laws.

 

C.  Prohibited Uses

 

The Town’s e-mail and Internet systems may be used only for lawful purposes. When sending e-mail messages, appropriateness and good judgment should be used.  The following are examples (but not limited to this list) of Internet and e-mail uses, which are prohibited:

 

·        Solicitation for commercial ventures, religious or political causes, outside organizations, or other non-job-related solicitations.

·        Communications that encourage conduct that would constitute a criminal offense or give rise to civil liability.

D. Retention

 

Generally, e-mail messages are intended to be temporary communication, which are non-vital and may be discarded routinely, However, depending on the content of the e-mail message, it may be considered a more formal record and should be retained as such, these e-mail messages are similar to printed communication and should be written with the same care. 

 

Employees should be aware, when they have deleted a message from their workstation mailbox it may not have been deleted from the central e-mail system.  The message may be residing in the recipient’s mailbox or forwarded to other recipients.  Furthermore, the message may be stored on the computers back up system for an indefinite period.  Note that e-mail has been classified as “Public” documents (i.e. available to media) in at least one state.  Employees should keep this in mind when creating or storing e-mail.

 

As soon as all relevant e-mail documents have been printed off or otherwise filed appropriately, employees should delete these messages, as accumulation of files will degrade the system, performance and response times.  Messages may be deleted after a certain period of time unless archived.

 

E. Web Site Development

 

The Internet is an effective channel for the Town to share information with citizens, visitors and customers.  Departments are strongly encouraged to work with the Town Administrator (or delegated web designer) to develop and keep an up-to-date departmental page as a link from the Town’s home page.

 

F. Applicability to Employees, Part-time Employees, Contractors and Other Users.

 

This Internet and e-mail policy applies to all employees, part-time employees, contractors, volunteers and other individuals who are provided access to the Town’s e-mail system.  Third parties should only be provided access to the e-mail system as necessary for their business purposes with the town and only if they abide by all applicable rules, including this policy.

 

G.  Employee Termination, Leave of Absence, Vacation and Other

 

Employees who leave employment with the Town have no right to the contents of their e-mail messages and are not allowed access to the e-mail system.   Town Administrator or designee may access an employee’s e-mail if employees are on leave of absence, vacation, or are transferred from one department to another department and it is necessary for the town’s purposes.

 

 

 

 

H.  Penalties

 

The misuse of the Internet or e-mail privileges may be considered sufficient cause for discipline in accordance with the Town of Waterboro’s Personnel Policy and/or other applicable rules or laws.  This includes termination of employment.    In addition, in event of suspected, alleged or actual illegal activity, the Town may notify or cooperate with applicable law enforcement authorities for potential civil or criminal investigation or prosecution. Users are expected to report any observations of misuse of the Internet and e-mail policy  to the Town Administrator.

 

I. Acceptance.

 

The town may require employees to read and accept the terms of this policy before making electronic systems available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H.  Penalties

 

The misuse of the Internet or e-mail privileges may be considered sufficient cause for discipline in accordance with the Town of Waterboro’s Personnel Policy and/or other applicable rules or laws.  This includes termination of employment.    In addition, in event of suspected, alleged or actual illegal activity, the Town may notify or cooperate with applicable law enforcement authorities for potential civil or criminal investigation or prosecution. Users are expected to report any observations of misuse of the Internet and e-mail policy  to the Town Administrator.

 

I. Acceptance.

 

The town may require employees to read and accept the terms of this policy before making electronic systems available.

 

 

 

Date: ________________________

 

Employee Acknowledgement signature: __________________________________