Social media and public officials

It’s always great when an appointed official wants to let you know their position on any given issue. And they should be appreciative when people take note.

Regarding our article on Mazzoni Center, Amber Hikes, the executive director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT affairs, had opinions on the resignation of its executive director, Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino, and posted those opinions on social media.

When we called her for a clarification and asked whether she was representing her own views or the views in her capacity as a representative for the mayor, she stated: “This is a trip. It’s weird that it’s a slow day at PGN, especially with everything going on, but I’ll give you a quote to explain what’s going on.” 

You can read her quote(s) in the article, but the issue boils down to whether a non-LGBT person can run an organization that serves primarily LGBT people. That’s a fair point to debate, but is her view personal or administration policy?

While almost everybody in our community has a position on Mazzoni Center, Hikes has a responsibility, as someone who represents an administration that could affect Mazzoni Center and its clients, to make clear statements that can lead to the easing of tensions and possibly allow her to be a fair broker in calming the storm.

She injected herself into this latest firestorm, as she has with others on social media. Maybe instead of asking why someone noticed her statements, she might be clear in clarifying whether those statements are personal or represent the Kenney administration when they are made. City officials, especially appointees, should be secure and comfortable with doing that, and appreciate that the public expects and deserves transparency. Right before presstime, Hikes did clarify that the statements are “on my personal Facebook so yes, I’m speaking personally.”