Tonganoxie City Council wants Internet use audit
The Tonganoxie City Council has instructed City Administrator Mike Yanez to develop a process to audit city computers to ensure they were not being used inappropriately.
The decision was the result of one of two discussions at Monday’s Tonganoxie City Council meeting spurred by the revelation last month that for the second time former Mayor Mike Vestal had used the city-owned computer he uses in his duties with the city’s answering service to send an obscene e-mail. Vestal resigned as mayor July 28, two days after the incident was made public.
Councilwoman Paula Crook, who made Vestal’s latest inappropriate e-mail public at the July 26 council meeting, once again called — unsuccessfully for the present — for the city to end the $14,400 a year contract for the answering service.
Councilman Tom Putthoff introduced discussion of the audit, after first reproaching Crook for her comment at the July 26 meeting that other council members “condoned” Vestal’s behavior. Every member of the council condemned the e-mail, he reminded her.
Told that the city had a computer use policy that forbids visiting sites with improper content or sending inappropriate e-mails, Putthoff asked that an audit be made of city computers’ Internet use.
“I don’t think it was a one-time deal,” he said. “We need to put a stop to it.”
When City Clerk Kathy Bard said some employees knew the passwords of others and some computers were necessarily shared, Putthoff said a tracking method needed to be developed and sharing passwords needed to end.
“Do what needs to be done,” he said. “I understand it costs money, but I’m sick and tired of hearing these complaints and getting on the news for people sending e-mails and things.”
City Counselor Mike Kelly said although he would like to review the city’s policy, he was confident the city had the right to examine the city-owned computers employees used.
From his experience with such searches as police chief of Lake Quivira., it could be difficult to determine the provenance of computers when they were shared or were traded with employee turnover, Councilman Burdel Welsh said. Still, he said he would support a comprehensive plan for a computer audit.
With that, Yanez was instructed to develop a plan to bring to the council.
Welsh said he would also support reconsideration of the answering service contract but wanted to do so outside of the context of the 2011 budget, which was approved Monday. The focus should be on the service’s value, he said.
At least two council members said they thought that question was answered last month during a debate about continuing the service. Putthoff, who voted last month to end the contract, and Councilman James Truesdell said Police Chief Kenny Carpenter made the case for the service.
“I deferred to the police chief,” Truesdell said. “He was quite adamant it was a necessity for the city.”
Yanez said a new contract would be prepared for the answering service for 2011. It would require the service have its own equipment, including a computer, he said.
In other action, the council:
• Adopted the Leavenworth County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. Leavenworth County Emergency Manager Chuck Magaha said the city’s adoption of the plan would allow it to get grants of 80 percent of the costs for projects designed to mitigate the effects of hazards, such as storm water improvements to prevent flooding.
• Heard a mid-summer report from Yanez on water park attendance. Yanez said revenues were exceeding expenses by $24,816 as of Aug. 1. Daily attendance averaged 333 patrons with a high of 600 people using the pool June 22, he said.
• Recognized Tonganoxie Boy Scouts Brett Morey, Ezekiel Kissinger, Jonathan Sturgis, Cody Martin and John Miller for becoming Eagle Scouts.
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