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Glasscock now concerned about sensitive information on county computer servers

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

The man whose action prompted the Morgan County e-mail investigation is now concerned that information on the county's seven computer servers is sensitive.

County Commission Chairman John Glasscock asked Sheriff Greg Bartlett, Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott, License Commissioner Sue Baker Roan, Probate Judge Greg Cain and the Board of Registrars to attend the commission meeting last week concerning the main server.

In his letter dated Jan. 16, Glasscock states that an unnamed individual had requested to look at one or more of the servers that the commission maintains.

Glasscock said county attorney Bill Shinn wrote the letter.

"I just transferred it to my stationery," Glasscock said Monday.

Glasscock said the unnamed individual mentioned in the letter is District 4 Commissioner Stacy George.

George attempted to look at the e-mail server about two weeks ago.

He was stopped by Chairman Pro Tem Jeff Clark who told the data processing manager not to allow George access.

The letter from Glasscock reads:

"The commission has been advised that the information contained on its servers constitutes public record within the meaning of the Open Records Act and that unless there is some special reason why such information or parts there of should not be made available to the public, it should be made available under such circumstances and conditions as may be appropriate."

He asked each of the officials to attend the Jan. 18 meeting.

"I request that you attend so that you can provide the commission input as to your position with respect to records that were generated in your office or by your employees or for which you have responsibility," the letter states. "If you believe there is information on the servers which should not be disclosed, or which deserves special protection, please be prepared to describe such information and the legal basis for non-disclosure."

Shinn's letter passed through Glasscock is the first reference to more than one server.

Data Processing Manager David Hannah explained that one server is for all e-mails of county computers; one is for the Sheriff's Department, which includes information about such things as jail rosters and pistol permits. Another server has mapping information from the revenue commissioner's office; one has IP addresses of all computers, and one monitors all Internet activity. One server holds accounting information for the County Commission office and another is a call manager server for the county's telephone system, Hannah explained.

George said he is surprised about all the servers.

"That makes it even easier since all of the e-mails are separated from the business dealings," George said. "I don't understand why the chairman and the other commissioners are trying to block access to these public records. After learning about Mr. Glasscock's letter, I think it's obvious he's trying to keep me and the public away from the records."

Glasscock said the letter to the other officials last week was not to circumvent George's right to public records.

The e-mail probe started after the county's ex-human resources director sent a sexually charged e-mail showing naked women to Glasscock, who sent it to others outside the courthouse.

The commission fired the director, but there is no provision in county rules for punishment for Glasscock, an elected official.

The commission majority voted to end the investigation last month and ignored George's request to have the county-hired computer expert to spend two more days searching the server for inappropriate e-mails.

That's when George tried to look at the server, but was unsuccessful.

Petition filed

George filed a petition last week in Circuit Court asking for a temporary restraining order to be able to view e-mails on the main server.

He named Clark, Hannah and Glasscock as defendants. George said Glasscock is responsible for the records and did nothing to stop Hannah from denying his request.

The three circuit judges were out of town when George filed the petition. Presiding Judge Steve Haddock had issued an order placing District Court Judge David Breland in charge as a special circuit judge in his and the other two judges' absence.

Breland did not rule on the petition, which is now in Haddock's hand, according to George.

An attempt to reach Haddock was unsuccessful.

Alabama law states that "every citizen has a right to inspect and take a copy of any public writing of this state."

Electronic records are treated the same as written documents.

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