Banana Republican and Other Blogs Banned From City Hall?

We've been exiled from our own capitol! At least that's what a purported email from Miami City Manager Carlos Migoya indicates. If the memo is real, Migoya isn't too keen on city employees reading up on all the shenanigans he, his subordinates and his bosses are up to via Banana Republican and six other civic-minded blogs. We're guessing the former banker has been consulting the Hugo Chavez manual on social media control.

The subject line reads: "The City Manager, Carlos Migoya, advised City Directors to advise employees that were NOT to read blogs on City of Miami computers."

The email directs employees to avoid: Banana Republican, Coconut Grove Grapevine, Take Back Miami, Meet Marc Sarnoff, Investigation Miami, The Crespogram Report, and Truth Dies.

We've contacted the city's communication department to get us verification from Migoya and to find out from him why these particular blogs were singled out. And we're wondering if he plans to extend his censorship to the Miami Herald and its blogs as well. Read the email below:

Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 11:34 AM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: The City Manager, Carlos Migoya, advised City Directors to advise employees that were NOT to read blogs on City of Miami computers.

The City Manager, Carlos Migoya, advised City Directors to advise employees that were NOT to read blogs on City of Miami computers. Blogs that were given as examples are as follows:

The Directors were further advised to incorporate the following into a draft A.P.M. to be published in FY-2011

Notice : Make sure that any policies the company adopts are easily accessible to employees. Include them in orientation materials and employee manuals. Consider including reference to them on start-up screens for company-issued computers. Consider whether acknowledgments (through "click wrap" or "browse wrap" agreements) may strengthen compliance with company policies.

Competence : Inform employees that they should not use any social media tool unless they really understand how it works. Offer frequent training regarding these technologies and the company's approach to social networking. Insist that employees think before they click, tweet or post. Companies should encourage personal responsibility and treat employees like adults, while also explaining the risks for the company and the consequences of wrongful social networking behavior.

Purpose : Remind employees that company communications and computer technology are designed and intended for work, not for personal use. Make sure that employees know that social networking must not interfere with their work obligations. Further, remind them that information exchanged on social networking sites can be accessed by vendors, suppliers, business partners and competitors. Suggest that employees ask themselves, whenever using company systems: "how does this help the company perform better?"

Respect : Inform employees that they must not use social networking accounts to harass, threaten, libel, malign, defame, disparage or discriminate against co-workers, managers, customers, or anyone else. Consider prohibiting supervisors, managers and administrators from "friending" subordinates. Consider a prohibition on employees writing about, posting pictures of, or otherwise referring to any other employees without their permission.

Employment Decisions : Consult with counsel to determine what steps the company may legally take to obtain information from social networking sites as part of hiring, promotion and other employment decisions. Some states place restrictions on reference to behavior outside the workplace as the basis for an employment decision. Further, access to information about a candidate's background may expose the company to claims of discrimination.

Integrity : Remind employees that the company expects ethical and honest behavior from all its employees, at all times. Thus, any information exchanged on-line must be absolutely accurate. Insist that in blogs, wikis or other forms of online participation that relate to the company employees use their accurate identities.

Appropriate Content : Remind employees that any electronic communications and social networking activities for work-related purposes must maintain and reflect the company's standards for professionalism, including proper tone and subject matter. Thus, for example, profanity and vulgar or demeaning jokes are inappropriate. Employees should also avoid discussions of conduct that is prohibited by company policies, such as alcohol and drug use on the company's premises.

Confidential Information : State unequivocally that employees must comply with all company policies covering confidential information and trade secrets. Prohibit employees from posting confidential, copyrighted, or otherwise legally protected information or materials on their social networking accounts. Consider prohibiting employees from posting photographs taken at the company's premises or events, without explicit permission.

Disclaimers : Remind employees (and officers, especially) to state in any social media environs that what they write is their own opinion and not that of the company. Prohibit use of the company's logos, marks and other intellectual property without prior written consent.

No Right To Privacy : State, in clear terms, that employees have no right to privacy with respect to any information sent, received, created, accessed, obtained, viewed, stored, or otherwise found at any time on the company's systems. Remind employees that the hardware, software, and all communications, files and records transmitted through and residing on those systems remain, at all times, company property and may be monitored or viewed by the company at its sole discretion, at any time, without consent from or notice to employees.

Prepare For Litigation : Think about the procedures and methodologies that may be required to capture and preserve fluid Web 2.0 data in the event of litigation. "Litigation hold" procedures may include notification to third parties of the need to secure data, where applicable.

Penalties/Discipline : Explain that any violations of the policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. Enforce the policy uniformly. Ensure that sufficient resources are dedicated to the enforcement process. Periodically audit compliance with the policy.

Modifications : Reserve the right to modify, discontinue, or replace the policy or any terms of the policy. Regularly review the policy to ensure that it remains effective for its intended purposes. Endeavor to give, but do not promise, notice of changes in the policy.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.