Monday, January 7, 2008

Councilman requests audit after laptop thefts

By MICHAEL CASS Staff Writer (for The Tennessean) Metro Councilman Jim Gotto today asked Metro's internal auditor to "conduct a full-scale audit" of two city agencies related to the theft of laptop computers containing sensitive voter information. Gotto, who represents Hermitage, asked Internal Auditor Mark Swann to review the operations of Metro's General Services and Information Technology Services departments. He also asked the state's elections chief to audit the Davidson County Election Commission, whose offices were burglarized before Christmas. The thief or thieves got away with two computers containing 337,000 voters' Social Security numbers. Police investigators have not been able to find the machines yet. “It is unfortunate that policies and procedures of the previous administration created a scenario that allowed this to happen”, Gotto said in a news release. “That Mayor (Karl) Dean now has to deal with the aftermath of a grave situation for which he bears no responsibility in its creation is regrettable.” General Services manages security for the Metro Office Building, where the election commission has its offices. Dean has directed each city department to audit its own data security by the end of this week. Gotto said he didn't doubt that those reviews would be objective. "However, the conducting of an audit by the Metro Independent Internal Auditor will make certain that there is no appearance or perception of impropriety," he said. The Metro auditor position was created by a charter amendment voters approved in 2006. The audit division is independent of the mayor's administration and the council. The top auditor is appointed by the council and reports to a six-person audit committee.

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