ROCK HALL — During Monday night’s meeting of the Rock Hall Communications Board, all three members tendered their resignation.
A seen on the live-stream of the meeting, Secretary Kate Johnson, who started the discussion about the board’s lack of utility, said that the group had been asked to do “almost nothing” in two years of meeting.
Johnson said that even though the board gave a report monthly to the mayor and council, none of the suggestions the group submitted were acted upon.
“I see that I’m very frustrated in the fact that I’m putting time aside to come to these meetings, and we really accomplish nothing,” Johnson said.
Johnson discussed the council meeting of Feb. 14, when Mayor Brian Jones first suggested Rock Hall add an online bill payment system for residents’ utility bills. Johnson said that this should have been something the Communications Board researched and brought to the council.
“And then I didn’t see that there was any due diligence to collect information or to provide information to the council on any other sources other than the one that was selected,” Johnson said. “So that made me start to think, ‘What am I doing here?’”
Johnson voiced concerns over Jones’ use of the town’s social media pages. Johnson said it would be easy for Jones to access email addresses and contact information for individuals notified by the site, which she worries could be used in a political campaign.
“I don’t think that someone who is running a town and has a dog in the fight, so to speak, should put themselves in such a vulnerable situation,” Johnson said. “It’s crazy.”
Linda Buckle, vice-chairman of the board, expressed her frustration with some responsibilities of the Communications Board being given to Washington College interns. She said one of these responsibilities, which was contacting Rock Hall businesses to update their contact information on the town’s website, wasn’t being handled in a professional manner.
Johnson also discussed Jones’ “My Vision for Rock Hall” section of the town’s website. Johnson said the text had been copied from another city’s website.
Johnson’s allegations could not be confirmed as of press time, though Jones responded to the claims in an email Tuesday.
“The content with the new website was built out from many different sources,” Jones said in an email. “I do see similarities but do not recall any content being imported from other sites.”
Jones also thanked the members for their service.
“The resignation does not come as a surprise,” Jones said in an email. “The remaining members of the board had a difficult time trying to determine what their responsibilities were, versus what administrative functions were completed by town staff.”
Johnson said she had waited about a year to hand in her resignation, but had stayed on the Communications Board in hopes things would change.
Councilwoman Beth Andrews, the liaison for the Communications Board, said that the lack of communication and sharing of information between the bodies was shameful.
“I share your frustration in many ways,” Andrews said.