Email to supervisors threatens unrest, retailation


By Patsy Nicosia

An email sent to the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors threatens “public unrest” and “personal retaliation” after the comments option was disabled on the Health Department’s Facebook. page.
On August 21, after the Health Department shared a FDA.Gov article “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19” was posted, the Health Department posted this:
“SCDOH Facebook page is an informational page, not a place for debating COVID-19. We have not found a way to turn off the comments completely but they have been limited to only being allowed for pages that SCDOH follows (like NYSDOH or CDC), effectively turning them off for everyone.
“Unfortunately, allowing comments and moderating the page has become too time-consuming.”
Since the start of COVID, the Health Department has used Facebook to share information on things like masks, vaccination clinics, and potential exposures.
Like everything on Facebook, though, many of the posts have inspired arguments, attacks, complaints and the spreading of inaccurate information.
Bill Federice, supervisors’ chairman, said Friday that the decision to shut down commenting is apparently behind the August 21 email.
Because the Times-Journal was unable to independently verify the author’s name—he did not respond to a email sent to the address he used or to a message sent to his Facebook account—we are not including using his name.
The email message, however, follows:
“You should probably allow public comments on your government social media pages considering you’re elected by the public and you make a living off the public’s money.
“Anything less is basically unconstitutional by way of restricting free speech and in the extreme sense, dictatorial.
“Public unrest isn’t something any of you want. Personal retaliation I’m certain you’d like to avoid.
“If you’re not going to represent The People and their Liberty…then get the f*ck {Editor’s note: edited by the Times-Journal] out of the way before others take that action upon you themselves.”
“It’s just gotten too vicious,” Mr. Federice said of the Facebook comments that prompted the move, “and it’s taking too much of their time to try to moderate the page.
“We have 16 supervisors someone can take their concerns to and we’re all here every month. Enough is enough.”
The email was forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office.
At a Management & Policy Review Committee meeting September 7, members agreed to recommend to the Rules Committee that the county’s social media policy he amended to require the comments section on any agency’s social media posting be disabled, with the understanding that “social media is to be used to disseminate information only and not for any discussion.”
The threatening email was forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Health Department was unavailable for comment.