Saturday, January 5, 2008
Metro Asks Security Company To Pay Costs
Letters Cost City More Than $100,000 Reported by Jennifer Johnson POSTED: 4:52 pm CST January 4, 2008 UPDATED: 7:13 pm CST January 4, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A break-in that compromised hundreds of thousands of voters' personal information is turning out to be an expensive mistake. Channel 4 learned Friday that the city is trying to recoup some of the costs from the security company contracted to protect the building where the computers were stolen. A letter that will be mailed to voter's mailboxes Friday and Saturday notifies registered voters that their Social Security numbers were on the laptops that were taken. Just mailing these letters cost the city more than $100,000, but Metro's lawyers are telling Wackenhut Security to pick up the tab. The break-in is proving costly when factoring in the replacement of stolen laptops, printing costs for 336,000 letters and possibly even short-term credit monitoring for Davidson County voters. "We've made a mistake here. It's not just one person's mistake. Maybe it's all of us. We at the commission should have made policies in the past to protect this, but we weren’t aware of a lot of things going on," said Eddie Bryan of the Metro Election Commission chairman. In the contract with Metro, Wackenhut agreed to provide crime insurance that would "cover claims arising from real or alleged errors, omissions or negligent acts committed with a limit of $500,000.” For several days, Metro officials have told the public that the elections commission office had 24-hour security five days a week. However, Channel 4 found that is not apparently true. Billing statements from the security company indicate the building was being supervised only 12 hours on normal business days, not 24. "At this point, I'm not aware of any discrepancies of when the building was and was not guarded. I know that the director of General Services is certainly looking at all the building security that they're responsible for and that information will certainly get back to the mayor's office," said Mayor Dean's Chief of Staff Rita Roberts-Turner. Wackenhut is being asked by Metro to pay only for the cost of the mailings. As for the other costs that are associated with the theft, the door is certainly open for the city to be reimbursed for those as well.
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