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The City Of Elberton Internet Policies and Guidelines

I have read and reviewed the Internet Policies and Guidelines on the use of the
City's Information and Data Systems including Internet and Electronic Mail Use. By signing
 this form, I agree to abide by the policies and guideline currently in place and I agree to
review periodically any changes or modifications. I recognize that the law and associated
policy regarding the use of Internet, electronic mail and the City's information systems
 are continually evolving. Therefore, I understand that my regular review of policy is
required. I understand updates to the policies and guidelines will be available on the
City's main Web page. 

            I understand that there is no right of privacy assigned to the City's Information and data systems including Internet and electronic mail.

            I understand that violation of these policies and guidelines may result in disciplinary
action, including but not limited to, termination.

Print Name:___________________________________________________________

Signature: ___________________________________________Date: _______________

(To be included in employee's personnel file.)


Form Adoption:  May 14, 1999


DATE OF ADOPTION:       JUNE 7, 1999



The City of Elberton ("City") is making every effort to provide its employees with the best technology available to conduct the City's official business.  In this regard, the City has installed,
at substantial expense, equipment such as computers and advanced technological systems such
as electronic mail (e-mail) for use to conduct its official business.  This document was created to advise all users regarding the access to and the disclosure of information created, transmitted, received and stored via the use of the Internet, e-mail, and other computer systems (collectively referred to as the "City information and data systems").  The City's policy regarding the use of the information and data systems including Internet and e-mail is, among other things, intended to guide you in the performance of your duties as a City employee.

It is also intended to place you on notice that you should not expect information and data including the Internet and e-mail in your possession or those that you use from time to time, and their contents, to be confidential or private.  All data, including any that is stored or data printed as a document is subject to audit and review.  THERE IS NO EXPECTATION OF PERSONAL PRIVACY
 IN THE USE OF THE CITY'S INFORMATION AND DATA SYSTEMS INCLUDING INTERNET AND E-MAIL.  Accordingly, the City reserves the right to monitor Internet use, all e-mail, and other computer transmissions, as well as any stored information, created or received by City employees with the City's information and data systems.  The reservation of this right is to ensure that public resources are not being wasted and to ensure that the City's information systems are operating as efficiently as possible in order to protect the public interest.  All computer applications, programs, work related information and data created or stored by employees on City's information systems
 is property of the City.

The use of public resources for personal gain and/or private use, such as but not limited to, outside employment or for political campaign purposes, by City employees, is prohibited and punishable by disciplinary action which may include termination and/or  criminal prosecution depending on the nature and severity of the transgression.  Incidental and occasional
personal use may be permitted with the consent of your department head and  the City Manager.  The term public resource as used in this policy includes not only the unauthorized use of equipment, hardware, software or other tangible articles, but also the employee time engaging in the unauthorized use while on duty.  Georgia Open Records Act,
Government Code Section 50 18 70 G, et seq requires the City to make all public records
available for inspection and to provide copies upon request.  A public record is any writing (which includes electronic documents) relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, or retained by the City. The Georgia Open Records Act (GORA) includes a number of exceptions from the disclosure  requirement, but any information on the City's information system may be subject to disclosure under the Georgia Open Records Act (GORA). If there is some doubt, the employee should contact his or her department management for advice as to whether the information is a public record.

This document addresses general Citywide information and data systems policies, specific issues related to appropriate content and use of departmental pages, and employee use of the Internet and e-mail.  All departments and employees are required to follow these general policies and guidelines. Specific departments may have unique requirements and are encouraged to develop policies to cover those issues which should be approved by the City Manager and be kept on file by the City Clerk.  The law and associated policy regarding the use of information and data systems especially Internet, e-mail and voice mail are continually evolving. Accordingly, review of the policies and guidelines will occur with regularity, and changes shall be made as required.

Each department head is responsible for their respective employees use of information and data systems including Internet and e-mail and for the contents of their department's information presented using these systems.

All City Employees with access to information and data systems including e-mail and/or the Internet are required to read, understand and abide by the City's policies.


The City of Elberton (City) encourages its departments to use the Internet to disseminate information to the public and its employees (collectively called "users") to improve communications with the public, and to carry out official business when such business can be accomplished consistent with the following Internet policies and guideline: (1)  Use the Internet to accomplish official City business consistent with the City's mission, (2)  City business conducted via the Internet shall comply with all statutory requirements as well as standards for integrity, accountability, and legal sufficiency, and  (3) City business conducted via the Internet should meet or exceed the standards of performance for traditional methods (such as meetings, use of telephone, etc.).

Reasons to use the Internet

Departments should base decisions to use the Internet on sound business practices.  The conduct of business via the Internet is particularly compelling where costs are reduced and/or the services provided to the City's constituents are improved in measurable ways. 

Ease of Use

Information and services presented via the Internet should emphasize ease of use to reach the broadest audience and impart a friendly manner which would include clear choices, easy navigation, on-screen instruction, etc.

Information Management

Disseminate information that is current, accurate, complete, and consistent with City policy.  Information released via the Internet is subject to the same official City policies for the release of information via other media (such as printed documents), so that the information disclosed avoids potential problems with copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.  Information accuracy is particularly important on the Internet.  Where paper-based information is often not current, information presented electronically is much easier to keep current.  Constituents expect this information to be not only current but often to be the first available.

Privacy and Security

Protect confidential and proprietary information entrusted to the City.  Questions regarding confidential or proprietary information should be directed to the City Manager or his/her designee.  City management has the right to monitor and log all transactions in or out of the system.   There is no guarantee of privacy.

Professional Image

Use the Internet to promote a professional image for the City.

Official Use

Internet resources are made available to City employees to support and promote official City business.  It is inappropriate for employees to use these resources for personal use, private gain, to state as "city positions" those which are not officially endorsed by the City through official channels, illegal purposes, or for inappropriate use as defined in these policies and guidelines.  The department heads will be held responsible for the content of their departments' Web sites, for ensuring that the information provided relates to their department's official duties and responsibilities, and that its use is for official and not for personal purposes.  Accordingly, all City departments should conduct all existing City business using the above policies.


The following rules require strict adherence.  Any infraction thereof could result in disciplinary action.  Disciplinary actions range from verbal warnings to termination as determined by management.

The use of Internet is restricted to "official City business". Personal use of or time
spent for personal gain is strictly prohibited. Authorization for Internet access must be obtained through your department. Once authorization is approved you are responsible for the security of your account password and you will be held responsible for all use or misuse of your account. You must maintain secure passwords and never use an account assigned to another user.

Hacking is the unauthorized attempt or entry into any other computer. Never make an unauthorized attempt to enter any computer. Such an action is a violation of the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) 18 U.S.C. § 2510. Sending threatening, slanderous, racially and/or sexually harassing messages, sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures and text is strictly prohibited.

The representation of yourself as someone else, real or fictional, or a message sent anonymously is prohibited. Never copy or transfer electronic files without permission.

Downloading a file from the Internet can bring viruses with it. Scan all downloaded files with City standard virus prevention software.  Never send, post or provide access to any confidential City materials or information.

Almost all data and software is subject to the Federal copyright laws. Care should be exercised whenever accessing or copying any information that does not belong to you.  Software that requires purchase or reimbursement for its use, such as shareware, requires strict adherence to the terms and conditions specified by the owner unless written permission for unrestricted use has been obtained. When in doubt consult your department head or his/her designee.

You are obligated to cooperate with any investigation regarding the use of your computer equipment and which your department head has authorized. Chain letters are illegal and may not be transmitted through e-mail. E-mail requires extensive network capacity. Sending unnecessary e-mail, or not exercising constraint when sending very large files, or sending to a large number of recipients consumes network resources that are needed for critical City business. When the City grants an individual employee access to the network, it is the responsibility of the employee to be cognizant and respectful of network resources.


Internet Sites

If you are using information from an Internet site for strategic City business decisions,
you should verify the integrity of that information.  You should verify whether the site is updated
on a regular basis (the lack of revision date might indicate out-of-date information) and that it is a valid provider of the information you are seeking.  Just because it is there does not mean that it is accurate or valid.  The City has no control or responsibility for content on an external server not under the control of the City Of Elberton.  Information may be offensive and/or unsuitable for dissemination.

Electronic Mail (E-mail)

MAIL ON THE INTERNET IS NOT SECURE. Never include in an e-mail message anything that you want to keep private and confidential because e-mail is sent unencrypted and is easily read.  Management has the right to access all e-mail files created, received or stored on the City's systems and such files can be accessed without prior notification.

Be careful if you send anything but plain ASCII text as e-mail. Recipients may not have the ability to translate other documents, for example Word or Word Perfect documents, or
encoding in UUENCODE or MIME.  Be careful when sending replies - make sure you are sending to a group when you want to send to a group, and to an individual when you want to send to an individual.  It is best to address directly to a sender(s).  Check carefully, the "To" and "From" before sending mail.  It can prevent unintentional errors.

Include a signature (an identifier that automatically appends to your e-mail message) that contains the method(s) by which others can contact you.  (Usually your e-mail address, phone number, fax number, etc.)

For important items, let senders know you have received their e-mail, even if you cannot respond in depth immediately.  They need to know their e-mail is not lost.

Watch punctuation and spelling. It can reflect on your professionalism. Use automatic checking programs if available. 

Internet Mailing Lists and Usenet News Groups

Actively disclaim speaking for the City of Elberton unless you have authority to do so. Note that if you use the City Of Elberton's system to post an article, the City's name is carried
along with what you post in (at least) the headers.  The "standard" disclaimers attached to many articles are meaningless if the reader finds the article offensive.

Be sure to change your mailing address if your account changes.  Do not simply forward your e-mail from your old account to your new one.  This creates a burden on the City 's information systems. Be careful when using auto-reply features in e-mail when you belong to mailing lists. Auto-reply replies are often sent to the entire list indiscriminately and your reply may not be important to all on the list; e.g. most do not care that you are on vacation, and worse, your message may have been intended for only one recipient.

As a new member of a news group, monitor the messages for a while to understand the history and personality of the group. Jumping right into the discussion may make you look foolish if you lack background information. Do not re-post any messages without permission. Even messages may have copyright protection.

Do not post personal messages to a mailing list or USENET news group. If you survey the group, as a courtesy, post a summary of the results.  Be sure to properly acknowledge with quotations any material borrowed from others. Be careful of plagiarism.  Do not post any messages anonymously. The professional community views this practice as bad form.

As a matter of policy the USENET community and system managers are asked to track down offenders.  Be careful when you re-post any requests. Some requests are fraudulent.  State the subject of your message clearly in the subject line.  Before joining mailing lists and news groups give thought to how much time these activities require. Also, for Usenet, look at the “news.announce.newusers” group. It contains information to assist you.  Be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for your group(s).  Never send angry messages (flames). If you receive a "flame", do not over react.  Remember that not everyone is as polite as you are.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) -- These guidelines cover use of FTP (or download) sites. Do not FTP to any system on which you do not have an account, or which does not advertise anonymous FTP services.  Downloaded files may contain viruses. Scan all downloaded files with the City's
standard virus prevention software.  Observe working hours or posted hours for FTP sites.  Most sites request that you do not FTP between their local hours of 8 am-5 pm.  Do not FTP during your site's prime hours due to network impact on other users.

Look locally before downloading a file from a geographically remote site. Your system manager can help you find the closest site.  Do not download on the off chance you will "need it someday.''  Conversely, do not search for "neat stuff" to FTP.  If you discover that you do not
 need what you have downloaded, delete it.  You can always get it again if you discover you need it later.  Observe any posted restrictions on the FTP server.  Login using your real user name and node address as your password on anonymous FTP servers.

TELNET -- These guidelines cover the use of TELNET. Do not TELNET to machines on which you have no account, or where there is no guest account. Do not attempt to TELNET deliberately into anonymous FTP servers.  When you TELNET observe any posted restrictions.  Do not attempt to TELNET into ports without authorization.


Be cognizant of system etiquette.  The computer you use may have limits regarding disk space usage. E-mail takes up space; therefore, you should regularly delete and/or archive any messages you wish to save.  Remember that the recipient is a person with feelings. Since they cannot see you, they may not know when you are joking. Be sure to include visual or verbal clues. Convention indicates the use of the smiley face. :) (Look sideways).

DO NOT SEND MESSAGES ALL IN CAPITALS.  It looks as if you are shouting.  Use initial capitals or some other symbol for emphasis.  For example: That IS what I meant.  That *is* what I meant.  Remember that some people have to pay for each byte of data they receive.  Please keep messages to the point without appearing terse or rude.


Domain Name:  A domain name is the way to identify and locate an address on the Internet. The domain name, also called the fully qualified domain name or FQDN, is a computer's name in text form, for example: “”.  The domain name is used to send e-mail, make FTP requests, etc.  Before any message is sent on the Internet, the domain name is converted internally to a numerical address, an Internet protocol address, which is the what computers on the Internet deal with directly.

Electronic Mail:  Electronic Mail (e-mail) may include non-interactive communication of text, data, images or voice messages between a sender and designated recipient(s) by systems utilizing telecommunications links.  It may also include correspondence transmitted and stored electronically using software facilities called "e-mail"," "facsimile", or "messaging" system; or voice messages transmitted and stored for later retrieval from a computer system.

FTP:  file transfer protocol; a program that allows you to transfer data between different computers on a network.

Guidelines:  Recommendations derived from experience and which should be used. 

Hacking:  Attempting to break into another system on which you have no account or authorization.

Internet:  a worldwide network of networks, connecting informational networks communicating through a common communications language, or "protocol".

Mailing List:  A service that sends e-mail to everyone on a list whenever e-mail is sent to the service, permitting a group of users to exchange e-mail on a particular topic. 

MIME:  A protocol that lets Internet users attach non-text files to e-mail messages. Stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension, lets users send mail in any format including graphic images, formatted documents, and audio, video and compressed data files.

Netiquette:  A combination of "network" and "etiquette". It is the practice of good manners in a networked environment.

News Groups:  Discussion groups with common themes on USENET.
Policy: Primary objectives of the City of Elberton as contained in this document.

Standards:  Departmental directions or instructions describing how to achieve policy.  Mandatory statement of direction.

TELNET:  A program that allows remote login to another computer.

TCP/IP:  Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol; the communication protocol used by computers connected to the Internet.

USENET:  A collection of computer discussion (news) groups.

Users:  The public and City employees.

UUENCODE:  A utility that converts binary files on PC into ASCII files. Stands for Unix-to-Unix Encode and was first developed for use with UNIX computers.

Vendors:  Any private person or business enterprise.



Contact Us

City of Elberton
P.O. Box 70
Elberton, GA 30635
(706) 213-3100
Elberton Utilities
234 N. McIntosh St.
Elberton, GA 30635
(706) 213-3278
Customer Service
P.O. Box 70
Elberton, GA 30635
(706) 213-3278


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