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No tweeting allowed during meetings for Rochester City Council members

The council president suggested the ban and council members agreed, saying it can be distracting.

No tweeting allowed during meetings is the new rule for Rochester City Council members.

The ban was agreed to Monday night, after Council President Randy Staver made the suggestion.

The issue arose after another council member apparently tweeted comments during a previous meeting that were deemed inappropriate by some.

 Staver said tweeting and using other  social media interaction during a meeting raises concerns about communication on a matter after a public hearing has been closed, reports the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

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There also was concern that tweeting can be distracting.

Earlier in the month, there were tweets from Council Member Michael Wojcik’s account during a council discussion of a vacant house that has become a public hazard. The owner, a World War II veteran, testified about his troubles, including his war history. He used a derogatory term for the Japanese people, which angered Wojcik, and during his testimony there were tweets from Wojcik’s account saying:

“crappy SW house to come down. Racist owner has 45 days to take care of it himself then we will. #rochcc #rochmn”

“Racism is not OK no matter how old or senile you are… #rochmn #rochcc.”

Wojcik said later he did not write those tweets himself but has authorized others to use his accounts during meetings.

Council President Staver didn’t buy that excuse:

“You willingly give up your log-in credentials so that someone can tweet on your behalf using your name? I find that, frankly, absurd. Who would do that?” Staver said.