Archive for Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tonganoxie council wants tighter computer login policies

August 31, 2010

The Tonganoxie City Council members agree that more stringent security procedures were needed for city computers but have yet to decide if an audit of computer activity is practical or necessary.

Discussion on the issue followed City Administrator Mike Yanez’s initial report Aug. 23 on procedures and policies for the use of city computers by city employee and volunteers.

The council directed Yanez to review the policies and procedures in the wake of Mike Vestal’s resignation as mayor last month when it was learned he used a city-owned computer to send an inappropriate e-mail, the second such incident in his three-and-a-half year term in office.

As a starting point, city employees and volunteers would be re-issued copies of the city’s computer-use policy and asked to sign an acknowledgment they have read the policy, Yanez said. Although the 7-year-old policy appears to be comprehensive, staff is requesting copies of policies from other cities to see if any improvements can be made, he said.

The city’s information technology consultant would be asked to suggest ways to improve password security while still allowing shared use of computers and software, Yanez said. The consultant would also be asked to suggest programs that allow searches of computer use and content, which staff could use to audit suspected misuse.

Commenting on Yanez’s report, Mayor Jason Ward said the action item was the need to develop login procedures that would track who was using a computer or a software program. But he said he didn’t support a full audit of Internet computer use — which then-Councilman Tom Putthoff had advocated two weeks earlier.

Councilman Burdel Welsh said because of the city’s lax password policy, an audit would be of little value. He suggested the hard drives of city computers be erased and reinstalled in conjunction with the start of a more stringent password policy so that abuse could be traced in the future.

A strict password policy would protect innocent employees, said Councilman Chris Donnelly, who was sworn in to his council seat at the beginning of the meeting.

In contrast to Ward, Putthoff continued to insist a complete audit to protect the city from further embarrassment.

“We need to know once and for all how widespread this is,” he said.

A full-scale audit of every computer would be very expensive, Welsh countered. But there was the possibility of conducting targeted audits or limited ongoing monitoring, he and Donnelly said.

Council members agreed they needed to learn more, possibly directly from the city’s consultant.

In other business Aug. 23, the council:

• Learned the city received $4,687 from in-state and federal reimbursement as a result of the Federal Emergency Management Agency declaring last winter’s holiday storms an emergency.

• Approved the $3,600 purchase of a rollout command center to be carried in the fire department’s new pick-up.

The council also approved Fire Chief Dave Bennett’s request to sell two used vehicles on the Purple Wave auction Web site.

• Accepted Tonganoxie First State Bank and Trust’s bid to provide financing for the lease purchase of a new police car of 2.79 percent interest. The city is paying $10,000 down for the vehicle and finance the remaining $20,000 for two years.

Comments

Tongiescout 4 years, 3 months ago

Why do we need to do a full audit? Is there concern that this is going on throughout the city? There are programs out there that will block content and websites that are not appropriate for the workplace. So instead of finding new ways to stop this type of behavior in the future, and treating our city workers like adults, we are going to dig into the past and try and retroactively punish people?? Sounds like the typical witch hunt to me

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teatime 4 years, 3 months ago

Let's not forget the witch that started the hunt to begin with. And besides, if the policy has been in place for seven years, there shouldn't be a problem, right?

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straightup 4 years, 3 months ago

Apparently you approve of city officials and city employee to use the city computers inappropriate. This shows what type of person you truly are. I'm glad the city council is putting their foot down and looking into this. Starting from the top to the bottom. I do not want my tax dollars being wasted so some city employees can misuse city computers and time just to get thier jollies off.

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teatime 4 years, 3 months ago

"Get their jollies off?" Great lingo. I seriously doubt that Mike Vestal was the only person in seven years to send or receive a questionable email. It's a far more efficient use of taxpayer money to move forward with greater controls in place. Misuse and inefficiencies in government spending both need to be eradicated.

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nonbeliever 4 years, 3 months ago

Catching up on council activity--and can't believe how hateful some of the comments are-- Some things never change--if you don't go along with whoever is in control--and esp. if you're a woman---you must be a witch--just sit on council--go along with the "boys"---don't even try to represent the best interest of the people who put you there. The "boys" are taking care of everything--so don't be messing in their business. Why call someone a witch because she brought out the fact that our city was being represented by a mayor who used city property to send "questionable" email--quess your employer would not object to your use of his computer for your personal enjoyment... If not mistaken-- Wasn't Tom Putthoff the member who insisted the computers be audited???

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Tongiescout 4 years, 3 months ago

The issue of Council members has nothing to do with sex, race, creed, or anything else...it has to do with doing what is right for our community. Yes she brought up the issue of inappropriate e-mails which I agree is a serious one, but to bring up such a sensitive issue during a city council meeting in front of citizens, TV news media and others is completely irresponsible and, in my opinion, made our city look even worse than the original offense.

This could have been done behind closed doors and the only thing that would have been openly known was that Mr. Vestel was resigning. Instead Tonganoxie is plastered all over the KC metro as a laughing stock. Enough is enough...we need to move forward and progress from being a small town with small town politics.

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Trouble 4 years, 3 months ago

It was Mr. Vestal actions that put the city back in the news once again and made the city look even worse. The irresponsible person is Mr. Vestal. He should of know better! If our city is being plastered all over the KC meto as a laughing stock you can thank Mr.Vestal for that. My opinion you need to blame the one that did the act! Mr. Vestal.

I also beleive there is something called open meetings act. I beleive that they are not allowed to go behind close doors.

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