Danville Express

Newsfront - March 23, 2007

Danville to decide town Web site policy

Links to other groups OK but site not intended as public forum

by Jordan M. Doronila

The Town Council will set policy for Danville's Web site at its meeting April 3. It wants to make sure the site provides community information efficiently but does not become a public forum for advocacy groups.

This is the first written policy for the Town of Danville's Web site, said Danville Attorney Rob Ewing.

"It really puts down in black and white what we have been doing for the past several years," he said. "We have never had a written policy."

The Web site explains the workings of the different town departments and helps residents find services as well as community events and activities. It has become a widely used resource within the community.

The new policy has rules for the town to allow Web links to other organizations, maintaining its community calendar and announcing local public events.

The town would allow links by the following:

* Other governmental agencies serving town residents;

* Public utilities;

* Schools;

* Organizations promoting business in Danville;

* Museums, libraries or organizations that provide cultural resources;

* Churches and other places of worship;

* Sports leagues;

* Hospitals; and

* Veterans organizations.

The policy bans links with sites for candidates running for political office, political organizations or advocacy groups, corporate or other for-profit organizations and individual purposes or links comprising obscene material.

At their January workshop, council members discussed ways the Danville Web site could potentially be used to disseminate information from organizations other than the town.

They requested more detailed information about staff resources required to expand usage of the Web site and asked staff to prepare a draft policy.

Staff members said they wanted to make sure that access to the Web site does not create a public forum.

"It's pretty much what we have been doing," said Ewing. "There's not that much new."

The Town Council meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Danville Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com

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