City Employees Receive List of "Do's and Don'ts" After Mayor's Spokesman Outed for Tribune Comments
Salt Lake City officials are reviewing the city’s official policy on political activity with employees after the mayor’s spokesperson was demoted for posting political comments to the Salt Lake Tribune’s website from a city computer.
Art Raymond, Mayor Ralph Becker’s former spokesman was placed on paid leave last month after the Salt Lake Tribune discovered he’d been criticizing the mayor’s political opponents under the pseudonym Whiskey Pete. Raymond has since been demoted to a position that removes him from contact with the media and the public. He’s also taken a pay cut. The city attorney has now circulated a reference sheet among city employees that details the “do’s and don’ts” of political activity while on the job. David Everitt is Mayor Ralph Becker’s Chief of staff.
“Really this whole experience serves as a cautionary tale to all of that that while there may be some gray areas around what political activity means and how that is interpreted it’s best to not even get close to being in the gray area,” Everitt says.
Utah law prohibits city employees from engaging in political campaigning or activity during work hours and on city phones or computers. They may however do so on their own time, using their own resources.
Everitt says because Raymond was the voice of an elected official, the incident deserved a heightened level of sensitivity and scrutiny.