Council acts to protect customers’, employees’ information

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The City Council passed a resolution formalizing a policy of protecting the personal information of its customers and employees during its regular meeting on Oct. 14.

The council passed the resolution in response to state and federal laws that require businesses to develop and implement written identity theft prevention policies and programs. The city has a deadline of Nov. 1 to implement a policy.

Personal information includes an employee’s or customer’s name in combination with a Social Security number; driver’s license; ID card; financial, debit and credit card numbers; and security or access codes.

The city will protect Social Security numbers by not printing them on any mailed materials not requested by employees or customers or on cards, such as an employee ID card, used to access products services or city buildings.

Exceptions to the rule include requirements by state or federal law; such as tax forms, and information that is required by law to be made public; records used in internal processes; and records used to enforce a judgment or court order.

If an information breach occurs, the city will notify the customer or employee as soon as possible by writing, electronically or by telephone.

The city has had procedures in place for many years in departments that handle personal information, Finance Director Pat Gray said. The new policy is a citywide policy that ensures the city maintains correct procedures safeguarding and disposing of personal information properly.

No sensitive information is stored on city laptops, including police laptops used in patrol cars, Gray said answering concerns about laptops going home with employees. Some desktop computers have sensitive information on them, but those don’t leave the office.

Information is generally stored on a central server and accessed by city laptops and desktops, she said. The computers are password protected.

The only employees who take laptops home with them are department heads, she said, and the city’s network is protected by state-of-the-art firewall and antivirus software.

Present at the meeting were councilors Jim Bean, Jim Gourley, Mayor Craig Fentiman, Greg Mahler, Eric Markell, Scott McKee Jr. and Rich Rowley. Candidate Laure Fowler was also present.

In other business, the council:

– Held the second reading of ordinances to update city and building codes. The final reading and decision will be held at the regular council meeting on Oct. 28.