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Policy Regarding Links to Other Sites

 

MecklenburgCountyNC.gov provides links to other organizations through this website. These links are provided for additional information as a service to our customers. MecklenburgCountyNC.gov is not responsible for the availability of these outside resources or their contents, nor does it endorse, nor is it responsible for any of the contents, advertising, products or other materials on such sites.

Under no circumstances shall Mecklenburg County North Carolina be held responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damages caused or alleged to have been caused by use of or reliance on any content, goods or services available on such sites, or as a result of use of any information you provide to such sites. Any concerns regarding any external link should be directed to its respective site administrator or webmaster. Once you leave the MecklenburgCountyNC.gov website and link to an external site, the MecklenburgCountyNC.gov Internet policies no longer apply and you will be subject to the new site's policies.

 

Web Site Linking Policy

The mission of Mecklenburg County is to provide governmental and other public services to and for the benefit of the local community. In accordance with this mission, our policy is to exclude from this website all commercial advertising, links and promotional material which do not serve or promote a public purpose of the County. 

The following guidelines are used in determining when advertisements or links will be allowed for inclusion in this website.

1. Advertising/Promotional Materials Where County Has Public/Financial Interest

A. Public Benefit Facilities And Venues. The County has established and maintains certain facilities which promote the arts, science, cultural studies, recreation and other public purposes (including, but not limited to the County parks, the Grady Cole Center, and Memorial Stadium). Advertising, links and promotion of events, programs and exhibits at such facilities may be placed on this website. This includes links to commercial enterprises that market tickets or other means of access to these facilities or foster participation in their programs.

B. Commercial Enterprises In Which The County Has A Financial Interest. The County possesses leasehold and other financial interests in certain commercial enterprises, and derives a financial benefit from their activities. These financial benefits serve a public purpose. Accordingly, commercial advertising and other promotional materials concerning these enterprises may appear on this website. Links to the websites of these enterprises may also be included on this website. 

C.  Commercial Enterprises That Operate On County Owned Property.  Departments may link to commercial enterprises that operate on County owned property, where such links will enhance the department's customer service.

2. Lists of Private Enterprises That Provide A Service Or Benefit To The Public Which Is Directly Related To A County Mission or Service

Certain commercial and public agencies maintain lists of private persons, enterprises and organizations that provide services to the public ("Public Service Lists").

A. Public Agency.  Where Public Service Lists are directly maintained by public agencies (such as lists of licensed child care providers or lists of restaurants that are graded by the Health Department), this website may display such information or provide links to the public agency that maintains it.

B. Private Agency.  Where Public Service Lists are maintained by private commercial agencies but the persons or organizations listed provide services directly related to the mission or service of a County department, the department may display the Public Service List on its website or provide a link to the Public Service List or the commercial agency that maintains it. However, in such cases, the department director must make a good faith determination that:

i. The department's clients, service recipients or interested City/County residents would benefit from the Public Service List;

ii. It would be duplicative for the department to independently create or maintain the Public Service List; and,

iii. The commercial agency maintaining the Public Service List has represented that it includes all legitimate or licensed service providers within the County, or within the geographical area served by the department.

When links to a list are permitted under subsection A or B above, the allowed link is to the Public Service List only. No link may be provided directly on this website to any enterprise or organization included in the list, unless such link is permitted under other provisions of this Policy.  

Examples:

1. A list maintained by a North Carolina state agency of licensed child care centers located in the local area could be displayed on the website of a department that serves the needs of children and families. A link to the state agency or to the list could be included even if the list maintained by the state agency contained centers both in the County and throughout the state. 

2. The Health Department could display a list of public health ratings of all restaurants in the County because public dissemination of such information is directly related to its mission. However, display or linking to a commercial list of popular ratings of restaurants or to an individual restaurant would not be permitted.

3. Links to Commercial Sites With Information Critical To Or Vitally Enhancing A City or County Department's Mission Or Services Where Replication Of Information By A Department Is Not Feasible

Certain private commercial sites maintain and display information that provides a community service or benefit not generally available through a governmental agency due to the cost of compiling, maintaining and/or displaying such information. To support the cost of compilation and maintenance of this information, these private commercial sites may include advertising or promotional material in the information display.

Although the County neither supports nor endorses entities advertised or promoted on such sites, they recognize that a public benefit is served by providing the underlying information to assist County residents. Accordingly, links to such sites that contain this information but also display commercial advertising or promotional material may be included on departmental websites when the department director has made a good faith determination that:

A. The department's independent replication of the information targeted for linkage is infeasible due to financial or other considerations; and,

B. No non-commercial site provides the information targeted to linkage; and,

C. The information targeted for linkage is critical to a service provided by the department, or

D. The information targeted for linkage is a vital enhancement to the department's mission.

Example: The Department of Park and Recreation could link to a commercial site for a local youth soccer league that plays on County soccer fields.

4. City and County Program Sponsors And Donors

Subject to any additional policies that the County may adopt regarding sponsorship, business or organizations that donate cash or services to sponsor County programs may be acknowledged through a display of their names and a link to their websites. However such links may be active only during the sponsored event and during a limited promotional period prior to the event.    

5. Government Agencies; Academic Institutions; Public-Private Partnerships; Professional, Cultural, Community-Based And Non-Profit Organizations

A. Departments may link to other government agencies and accredited academic institutions.

B. Departments may link to professional, cultural and community-based non-profit organizations:

(i) that receive County funding; or

(ii) that the County is a member of; or

(iii) that partner with or have a contractual relationship with the County to provide a service to the public.

6. Private Commercial Enterprises that Have a Partnership or Contractual Relationship with the County to Provide a Service to the Public

Some County departments contract with private firms to provide services to the public that would otherwise be provided by the County ("Outsource Service Providers").  Departments may link to Outsource Service Providers when the department mission is best served by providing citizens direct access to the Outsource Service Provider.

7. Other Than the Board of Elections, No City or County Department May Link To Sites Containing Political Endorsements

To avoid the appearance of County endorsement of political content, links shall not be made to sites that are associated with, sponsored by or serving a candidate for elected office, any political party or organization supporting or seeking to defeat any candidate for elective office or ballot proposal. The one exception to this rule is the Board of Elections. Due to the unique nature of its mission, the Board of Elections may link to political party web sites, as long as it allow links for all political parties that request them.

8. Notice of Leaving City/County Website And A Disclaimer

When providing links to non-County sites, departments must include a disclaimer on the page containing such links disavowing endorsement or responsibility for the material on sites being linked to. 

9. Contractors That Create Websites For County Departments

Departments that hire website contractors to design or assist with their websites shall provide such contractors with a copy of this policy and all website design guidelines that may be adopted from time to time by the County. All County contracts for website design shall require the contractor to comply with this policy and the County website design guidelines. County Public Service & Information Department, in approving web pages for departments, shall enforce the website design guidelines.

10. Link Maintenance

Departments shall routinely check links on their websites to ensure they are functional and contain no material that violates this Policy. County Department Directors are responsible for ensuring that all material posted on their department web pages are accurate and in compliance with this Policy and the County website design guidelines.

11. Authority of City Corporate Communications and the County Public Service  & Information Department

County Public Service & Information Department staff are authorized to remove or order removal of material non-compliant with this Policy or the County website design guidelines from department websites. 

12. Disclaimer

Externally linked websites are not under the control of, nor maintained by the County. The County is not responsible for the content of these external, linked websites, nor for any internal links the linked web sites may contain. Inclusion of linked websites on the County web site does not constitute an endorsement or promotion by the County of any persons or organizations sponsoring the displayed web sites.
 



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