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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Computer scandal may be more serious than initially appeared

Morgan County commissioners appear to be serious about an investigation into alleged inappropriate use of county computers.

Each of the four commissioners spoke with concern this week after hearing a rumor that an elected official had sought a device to erase a computer hard drive. District 4 Commissioner Stacy George said the alleged act came after an investigation of county e-mails began two weeks ago.

District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark acknowledged that the county has a security problem with its computer system.

"Why would someone want to delete something from a hard drive unless they're concerned about something?" asked District 2 Commissioner Ken Livingston. That's a good question.

A sexually charged e-mail that a county department head sent to Commission Chairman John Glasscock in January, and Mr. Glasscock forwarded to Decatur Mayor Don Kyle, surfaced in early November. The commission hired a law firm to conduct an investigation into possible inappropriate use of all county computers.

E-mailing pornography is clearly an inappropriate use of county computers. But the possibility that someone erased public records raises a far more serious concern.

If the investigation finds that a county employee tried to erase a hard drive, punishment should be swift and appropriate.

If an elected official did so, and in the process erased public records, prosecutors should file criminal charges and vigorously pursue a conviction.

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