Commissioner’s social media postings discussed at county board meeting

Social media postings were addressed during sometimes heated discussion at last week’s regular meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners.

The meeting was Friday morning, July 23, at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.

Concerns voiced at the meeting addressed postings which have been made in recent weeks by county commissioner Darryl Harvell.

Discussion about the postings came when the county board reached the regular “Other Business” section on the agenda for the meeting.

County board vice chairman Kent Pitts raised the issue about Harvell’s social media postings. Pitts said concerns about some of Harvell’s postings had been voiced to him by people in the community.

From that point, nearly 40 minutes of back-and-forth discussion, comments and questions began. 

Harvell was questioned and criticized for postings he has made on social media. In turn, at one point he cited the protection of the rights outlined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “I know my rights,” he said.

Pitts said that some of Harvell’s posts put the integrity of the board in jeopardy. Pitts said that people want to know “why you are working so hard against us and not with us.”

County administrator Angie Johnson read four of Harvell’s recent postings on social media.

In the first posting which was read, Harvell declared that his “perspective of things out in the county are certainly different” from those of the county’s other four commissioners.  Harvell said in the posting that he travels throughout the county and sees and talks to many people.

After hearing the posting read, Harvell asked: “So what is exactly is the question?”

“Are you calling me lazy and telling me I’m not doing my job?” Pitts responded. 

“No,” Harvell said. He then shared why he ran for a seat on the county board.

In another posting, which was read at Friday morning’s meeting, Harvell offered an “Objectively Construed Report Card,” which included his grades on four topics, including “creativity and originality,” “transparency,” “honesty” and “class participation.”

Harvell said he ran for commissioner as a candidate for the people of the county. He noted at one point that the purpose of government is for the people.

“We have to make decisions for all of the people,” Miller said.

Miller said what Harvell is doing on social media makes it look like the county board is not doing anything.

As the discussion continued to unfold, county board chairman Max Miller suggested to Harvell that he should get his facts correct before posting messages on social media. Miller further suggested that 75 percent of what Harvell posts is not factual.

Miller also voiced concerns about postings which involved family members and name calling. 

“You’re getting very personal with your constructive criticism,” Miller said.  

Commissioner David Gould participated in Friday morning’s meeting by phone. 

Gould took issue with comments that the board is not supporting growth and development in the county. He said that all of the commissioners were working for the county. He said that the idea that the area is not growing is ridiculous.

 (A video of Friday morning’s meeting can be viewed on YouTube. As of Monday evening, YouTube showed the video with more than 500 views.)

The Gazette-Democrat

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Anna, Illinois 62906
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