DRACUT — There are several town departments with Facebook pages. There’s the Dracut Council on Aging and Dracut Public Schools, and the M.G. Parker Memorial Library. But there isn’t one from the town itself. That’s going to change, but officials are treading carefully.
At the July 17 Board of Selectmen meeting, Selectmen Chair Jesse Forcier brought up the subject of creating a town administrative Facebook page. “I think it’s clearly time,” Forcier told the other officials at the meeting. “I’ve seen it in Lowell. I’ve seen it in other towns. It’s basically one of the only ways to communicate with anyone these days, unfortunately. Other than a sign across from Wendy’s. I think you’re going to see a lot more community participation with something like this.”
Before voting 5-0 to move forward with the plan, selectmen discussed at length the potential page and how it would be structured. There was talk that it would be more of a “one-way street” bulletin barring comments from the public. Forcier this week said he later found out that that is not possible.
“We didn’t want it to become another Dracut negative posting board which we have far too many (of) already,” Forcier said Thursday. “Even though we’re going to allow comments, it’s still going to be more of a one-way street.”
Town Manager Jim Duggan is examining how other municipal Facebook pages are managed will report his findings back to the Dracut selectmen.
“What I’m trying to avoid is the response or people asking questions back and then we’re going back-and-forth, back-and-forth because there are some points along the road where people will be extremely critical,” Duggan said earlier this week. “As much as I have never had an issue with answering questions, there are some of those anonymous people that they go over the boundary and they step over the line and, not only are they critical, but it’s just not nice some of the things they say.”
Forcier said he imagines the page’s posts would include links to other departments to redirect residents to the appropriate channels or to the town website for more information.
“It’s a great vehicle, it’s a great tool to get the information out versus what we do now which is the website — which is great, but we rely on signs around town,” Forcier said. “That’s not efficient.”
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.