WAVELAND — A new employee policy in Waveland prevents workers from talking to reporters unless the mayor or city attorney approve.
The Sea Coast Echo reports the addition to the employee handbook was approved this past week by the board of aldermen on a 3-1 vote. Alderwoman Lili Stahler said she will ask the board to reconsider when it next meets. Stahler voted against it.
The new policy states, in part, that no “employees, official, or commissioners,” are allowed to give any interviews, statements or press conferences with any media without prior approval from the mayor or city attorney.”
Mayor Tommy Longo said there has always been an “unwritten” rule about who can give statements to the media. He said the city is not trying to hide any information from the public.
“Most all cities have a policy like this,” Longo said. “Any press statement should go through the department heads.”
Waveland’s policy on employee statements came under fire last month, when the city suspended Recovery Coordinator Brent Anderson after he gave interviews about the reopening of the Garfield Ladner Pier.
The discussion of the policy came during a closed door meeting of the aldermen. City Attorney Gary Yarborough declined to comment on the executive session.
Longo said concerns over the new policy are not needed.
“We are just trying to make sure everyone is on the same page,” he said. “This policy is really nothing new,” Longo said. “It’s really not a big deal.”
Longo said department heads who currently give press releases such as the police and fire chief will continue to do so.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info