Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mayor Speaks About Election Building Break-In

Dean Says Building Security Must Improve, Not Specific On Changes Reported by Sara Dorsey(WMSV news channel 4) POSTED: 4:39 pm CST January 7, 2008 UPDATED: 9:35 pm CST January 7, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Nashville's mayor is talking publicly for the first time about a break-in at election headquarters that may have compromised voters' personal information. Video: Mayor On Commission Break-In: 'Voters Deserve Better' Two weeks ago, someone broke into a county office and stole two laptops containing hundreds of thousands of names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Mayor Karl Dean quickly said during Monday's interview with Channel 4 that he is disappointed on several levels that this information was on laptops and available to a thief. But two weeks after the robbery, the mayor still had very few specifics about what changes will be made, who will be held accountable, and what Metro is able to do to help voters. Dean said as the mayor of the city, he is sorry, and that he is now focusing on how to keep it from happening again. He said one of the first items to improve is building security. "Obviously we have a responsibility to protect the assets of Metropolitan government, and we need to be sure that those we contract with to do that or those we hire to do that perform their jobs," said Dean. All other city agencies are ordered to report back to him by Friday on how they store and protect sensitive data on computers. "Do you feel like the county's computers are secure?" asked reporter Sara Dorsey. "Obviously we had a problem last week, or two weeks ago, at the election commission, so I'm not going to say I know the answer to that question in its entirety," said Dean. Throughout the interview, Dean suggested countywide changes in security and information storage are possible. "The taxpayers, the voters deserve better and they're going to get better," said Dean. "Do you expect that there will be people held responsible for this?" asked Dorsey. "We will hold people accountable for doing their jobs. I'm not going to pre-judge things. I'm not going to be overdramatic on TV today. What I'm trying to do is make sure we get our reports and look at it in a careful, thoughtful way," said Dean. During a Monday interview, he could not say exactly what the government will do for voters, whether Metro intends to pick up the tab for fraud protection services or clean up any mess left behind if the thief does use voters’ Social Security numbers. One city councilman is calling for an independent audit of two city departments to avoid the perception of any impropriety as the investigation into the laptop thefts continues. "I have no reason that it wouldn't be totally on the up-and-up, but it gives the perception possibly to some people they may be trying to cover up something,” said Councilman Jim Gotto. Gotto is calling for independent internal audit of Metro's Information Technology office and General Services that covers building security. This is different than the review ordered by the mayor because in that case the departments do their own reviews. The independent auditor does not answer to either the mayor or the City Council.

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