Is it appropriate for a City employee to include a religious quotation in the electronic signature of all emails sent from his City email account?
I have been corresponding by email with a command officer at the Woodstock Police Department regarding a City issue. His replies include what is called an electronic signature that contains a quotation from the Bible.
Electronic signatures are used most commonly for a sender’s name, address, phone and other contact information, such as website and perhaps promotional information about his business. A person can include anything he wishes in his signature, when it is his personal email account.
If a sender were an employee of a commercial enterprise, he would probably be cautious about including any personal (non-business) information to which his employer or customers might object.
But what about the sender who is a government employee, whether City, County, Township, State or Federal? What is appropriate data to include in the e-signature?
Such information should be business-related only. It replaces information that would normally be found in a letterhead, had the communication been prepared on business stationery.
Should religious information be written in the e-signature? Because the recipients of a government sender’s messages might be of different faiths or no faith at all, religious messages do not belong in the e-signature. Even if the recipient is of the same faith or general denomination (or different or none), he might feel that, on general business grounds, a religious e-signature does not belong in a message sent on government business.
I wonder what Woodstock City government will have to say on this issue.