I’ve written about some dumb things here, but this one…wow.
Two months ago, Gregory Beck was elected to the Brookfield, Conneticut school board. Brookfield directly boarders Newtown, site of last years massacre that saw twenty first graders and six adults murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Obviously, this community, like the others in the area, live in the immediate shadows of the tragedy.
One of the many ways that the victims of Newtown are being honored is by a program called “26 Days of Kindness” that seeks to remember the dead by encouraging people to engage in 26 random acts of kindness. It is one in a series of tributes to the victims. As you can imagine, one of the ways that this initiative is being promoted is via Facebook.
And that’s when Greg Beck said this incredibly stupid thing:
In response to a Facebook post about 26 Days of Kindness, Beck commented, “i shall buy my friends who are gun enthusiasts a box of ammunition on days 1-26”
What. Just…what. What.
Calls for Beck, 26, to resign, began immediately after his statement. Beck sat through two board meetings in which the public comment portion of the meeting was dominated by calls that Beck step down over his remarks. Beck did apologize in a statement, saying:
The comments were insensitive and completely indefensible. I acknowledge the damage this has caused and truly had no malicious intentions. I unequivocally apologize to the citizens of Brookfield, Newtown and all others whom I have offended or hurt. I am sorry for my mistake and ask for your forgiveness which I hope to earn with time.
It didn’t stem the flow of anger, and Beck has resigned on Tuesday.
It got even worse for Beck, however: he apparently made the posts while at work as an emergency dispatcher, and two citizens filed ethics complaints against him. However, at a hearing yesterday, it was announced that Beck would keep his job and not face any reprimand. Through his lawyer, Beck admitted the stupidity of his comments and said that they were poorly timed, but didn’t interfere with his job performance. The ethics board decided to take no action, saying there was no legal basis to remove him from office.
For the life of me, I cannot imagine what Mr. Beck was thinking here. It goes to show, as most of these entries do, that you have to be careful with what you say on Social Media. You also have to be careful with when you say it – Beck was on taxpayer time when he made this comment, and this situation could have been a lot worse if his employer had policies in place that prohibited the use of Social Media while at work. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that an emergency dispatcher is allowed to use Social Media while working…seems like that would be a pretty clear distraction to me, but I also don’t know the ins and outs of emergency dispatch, so I could be completely off base.
What do you think? Was this handled right? Let us know in the comments!