Computer Networks & Communications Policy

City of Canton

Computer Networks & Communications Policy

Section 1.    Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions will apply:

(a)     Computers: Any electronic device which contains, transmits electronic data, messages, text or images.

(b)    Electronic Mail (e-mail): Any electronic messaging system or device that allows the transfer of electronic data, messages, text, ideas or images via computer, including “Groupwise” messages.

(c)    Network resources: The City’s computer and network systems, shared/network drives, shared/network programs, databases, calendar and messaging systems, network mail systems, shared/network printers and all other related City-owned resources.

Section 2.   Authorized Access & Use

The City furnishes computers and related services solely for use in the conduct of City business. All information, messages, transmitted or stored on said computers and network resources are the property of the City.  Accordingly, the City reserves the right to access, read, use and disclose such information as it considers appropriate for City business purposes.  Inappropriate use of computer resources is prohibited.  

(a)    All e-mail communications are the property of the City of Canton.  
Users shall have no expectation of privacy in e-mail messages, whether they are business related or an allowed personal exception as provided herein.

(b)    Comments and statements made via e-mail are to be appropriate to departmental/City business and must not violate, or be inconsistent with, existing laws or standards which prohibit discrimination or harassment.  E-mail communications which are harassing, offensive, demeaning, insulting, intimidating or sexually suggestive are expressly prohibited.  The use of unlicensed software is illegal and punishable by law.  Only lawfully obtained software will be used on City-owned computers.

(c)    The use of City computers for any illegal activity is prohibited.

(d)    Additionally, inappropriate uses of computer resources include, but are not limited to:

  • Violating copyright, license agreements or other contracts;
  • Interfering with the intended use of information resources;
  • Seeking to gain unauthorized access to information resources;
  • Using any computer or network resources under false pretenses;
  • Destroying, altering or otherwise interfering with the integrity of computer-based information or network resources without authorization.
  • Use of City computers for personal shopping or playing and/or installing computer games, including but not limited to fantasy football, baseball or another type of chance/gaming activities.
  • Generally, any usage which a reasonable person would judge to be immoral, unethical, involving political or campaign issues, or is commercial in nature.
  • Solicitation of funds for any purpose except as may be used for the expression of condolences and sympathy for City employees.

Section 3.     E-mail/Internet: Exceptions/De Minimis Use

(a)    The City of Canton recognizes that electronic communication is used extensively in public and private life.  Therefore, an employee may make an occasional use of City computer communications systems and equipment for personal benefit, if:

  • There is no cost to the City
  • The use is de minimis (lacking significance or importance, so minor as to be disregarded);
  • There is no interference with the performance of the employee’s duties;
  • The use is brief in duration and does not disrupt or distract from the employee’s ability to conduct City business;
  • The use is not in conflict with any use deemed inappropriate in Section 2 of this article.

(b) In recognition of AFSCME Local 2937, 3449 and Ohio Council 8 bargained-for right to maintain an electronic “Bulletin Board”, members of those organizations may use the City’s computer communications systems for the purpose of posting and disseminating Union literature only.  As such, there is an exception to Section 2 of this policy for the following specified types of union literature:

  • Notice of Union meetings.
  • Information about Union programs.
  • Bulletins from International Union.
  • Bulletins from Ohio Council 8.
  • Union-sponsored social functions.
  • Union elections and results.
  • Grievance settlements.

(c)    The e-mail system shall not be used to distribute political information pertaining to candidates or issues. Only Union Officials shall have the right to use the City’s e-mail for the topics and purposes stated above in Section 3 (b).

Section 4.     Any Improper Use of City Computers Will Result in Discipline, up to & Including, Termination.