Hillsdale City Clerk Stephen French was placed on unpaid administrative leave Monday for violating the city’s social media policy.
City Manager David Mackie said French sent an “inappropriate” email to a Hillsdale County resident.
Mackie said this was the first time the city has enforced its social media policy, which states city employees can’t “discriminate or harass residents while in office” and that they must “maintain the city’s reputation” both on and offline.
The resident — identified on social media as Marcy Almay — was active in voicing criticisms of French, setting up Facebook pages for that purpose.
In his email to Almay, French referenced an alleged arrest of Almay’s in 2014.
French sent the email after Almay allegedly circulated a story about his past. In 2009, according to MLive, French was arrested in Ohio for soliciting a prostitute and handling a firearm while intoxicated.
“My friends called and told me you sent an email. Just wanted you to know anyone can cut and paste,” French said in the email, implying he would spread information about Almay.
French could not be reached for comment. Mackie said French is scheduled to return to work on Thursday.
“Most employees and elected officials abide by common-sense rules,” Mackie said. “This was an example when an employee didn’t keep himself in check. Stephen was aware of the violation. He felt like he was repeatedly attacked, and he fell victim to responding in an inappropriate manner.”
Mackie said he hopes this incident proves to be an example of how influential social media can be.
“We felt this needed to be addressed,” he said. “But we hope we won’t have to address it again in the future.”