Controversial posts that appeared on the Wake County government’s Twitter account last week were not authored by an outsider but by a government employee.
Wake’s account – @WakeGov – on June 2 directed a pair of tweets at Raleigh resident Brent Woodcox, a staffer in the state legislature. The tweets suggested that Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca isn’t “really interested in” historically black colleges and universities and that “the majority feels threatened when minorities expose those against equality.”
Wake deleted the tweets and launched an investigation, saying it believed the account was hacked.
On Thursday, county spokeswoman Dara Demi said Wake investigators concluded that the account was mishandled internally.
County investigators “found no evidence of an external hack, as initially believed,” Demi said. She declined to disclose the name of the employee who authored the tweets.
“This is now a personnel matter, which management has appropriately addressed,” she said. “We have reviewed our practices and taken steps to strengthen security on our social media accounts.”
Wake County and the N.C. General Assembly have a tense history. The state government, run by Republicans, redrew election districts for Wake’s Board of Commissioners last year shortly after Democrats gained control of every seat.
Woodcox, for his part, said he hopes Wake leaders learn from the experience. He often uses Twitter to debate politics with Commissioner John Burns, who denied having access to Wake’s account. Woodcox says he enjoys the back-and-forth with Burns but that the Wake government tweets crossed the line.
“This is a teachable moment that I hope leads to more productive dialogue between citizens and their government,” Woodcox said. “All residents of our county should be made to feel welcome here.”
Welcome, but not ‘for life’
Orange County has chosen a new welcome sign with the slogan “Around the corner, ahead of the curve,” that leaves a little mystery for drivers heading west into the county on Interstate 40, said Laurie Paolicelli, community relations and tourism director.
“We were fearful of maybe being a little bit vague, maybe even esoteric, with the average motorist who sees the sign for one-tenth of one second really (not knowing) what we were talking about,” she said.
The Orange County Board of Commissioners passed on the top choice of more than 2,000 people polled – “Visit today, stay for life” – to pick the runner-up. “Around the corner, ahead of the curve” beat nearly 900 other suggestions submitted as part of a contest earlier this year.
Commissioner Mark Dorosin noted the voters’ top pick suffered from an unintended meaning.
“‘For life’ also has an incarceration quality,” Dorosin said. “I have some problems with that. It’s like you can never leave.”
The N.C. Department of Transportation will pay for the new sign to replace a damaged one at mile marker 269. That sign told drivers “You’ll be a Fan for Life.”
Compiled by Paul A. Specht and Tammy Grubb
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