News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Glasscock right to block access to popular Web site

The Internet is a wonderful medium for doing research and sending electronic mail that might take several days to arrive through the postal service. It's even a popular way to carry on conversations with people in other places.

People use the Internet many times a day in the course of doing their jobs. News junkies visit Web sites frequently for updates on developing stories.

Some private companies may condone this practice as a way for their employees to stay current on events. But do taxpayers want their public employees doing that? The issue arose at the Morgan County Courthouse recently when Commissioner Stacy George produced records that documented some of Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott's visits to the site, which is a joint news venture between The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times, The Mobile-Press Register and Advance Internet.

The records show that June 8 Ms. Scott visited the site 21 times between 9:24 a.m. and 3:34 p.m. On that same date, the records indicate one of Ms. Scott's employees visited the same site 13 times between 8:02 a.m. and noon.

Commission Chairman John Glasscock blocked courthouse employee access to the site last month. "It's very controversial, and it's not needed for purposes of county government," he said.

According to the records, June 8 wasn't an anomaly.

From June 1 through June 14, records show Ms. Scott and one of her employees visited the site 160 times. Between them, that averages to nearly a dozen visits a day.

Chairman Glasscock was right to block access to the site.

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