Sensationalized Headlines and Innuendos

Dear Citizens,

Questions have been raised regarding invoicing for IT services as well as about surveillancing of city employees. I wish to answer those questions to the extent I am allowed without divulging confidential information. My comments are also tempered by my constant efforts to safeguard the privacy of current and former city employees.

Elias Technologies was hired to perform internet security services for the City and the Police Department. The fact that the City entered a contract with Elias, and the amount of the contract, is not confidential.  Those facts can be released to the public and the media, and I will be glad to continue to discuss those issues publicly.

However, because the services provided by Elias were part of a process to update and improve the security systems of the city, I do not intend to discuss the actual details of that work.  If someone with the City has released such confidential information to the media, that would be a serious breach of the city’s security.  The invoices that have been released to certain media outlets contain confidential security information and I respectfully request that all media outlets use the leaked information in a responsible manner.

I, in my role and capacity as mayor, asked questions about some of the language in the Elias invoices, which may have caused some confusion.  I would like to clear up any confusion to the extent that I can do so without revealing information that would compromise the security of the city’s IT systems.

Elias contracted with the City to perform security services as described in memorandum called “scope of work.”  Elias agreed to perform those specific services for a total amount not to exceed $35,000.  Unfortunately, Elias performed additional services that were not described in the scope of work, and Elias billed for those services.  I did not receive an invoice indicating that this additional work had been performed until well after those services had been performed. When I called this to the attention of Elias, the company redacted those charges and submitted a second invoice containing charges for only those services specifically described in the scope of work.   Elias willingly agreed to remove the disputed charges, and Elias will not be compensated for those charges.   Thus, by bringing this to the attention of Elias, I saved the City several thousand dollars.  I considered the issue a non-controversial and routine day-to-day function of my role as Mayor.  The City Council does not necessarily need to be notified of these ongoing security procedures, but I am happy to discuss these issues with any Councilman who desires to do so.

As with most private and government organizations, when an employee leaves the City, their computer must be processed.  This is done for reasons of routine efficiency, security, and in some cases, in anticipation of litigation for any employee, both terminated and those leaving voluntarily. This process has been in place long before I took office and will continue to be in place long after I leave. To the extent that a former employee’s computer was processed as a result of a security measure, or in anticipation of litigation, it is not appropriate for me to comment.  However, this is a reasonable measure taken by most, if not all, municipalities and counties.

To clear up any confusion, Elias was not hired for purposes of processing the computers or devices used by former employees.  That job is handled by in-house IT professionals working for the City. To the extent that Elias attempted to, or did perform such services, I will not approve any charge related to those functions submitted by Elias.  Due to the confidential nature of the work performed, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the exact nature of the work performed on former employees’ computers or devices but I will say this practice has been in place with our City before I took office.

Moreover, Elias’ scope of work did not include taking any part in the implementation of any other security measures taken by the City, such as the keystroke software that has been publicly discussed and criticized in some circles. I have no plans to involve Elias in this particular security program in the future.

Unfortunately, certain media outlets have chosen to take this relatively minor billing issue, which was easily corrected, and blown it out of proportion with sensationalized headlines and innuendos. This is a perfect example of the media trying to hype an issue when there really was no controversy in the first place.

Furthermore, any insinuation of my being under investigation is patently false.  It is easy to claim and  and publish accusations without any regard for the truth while putting me in the difficult position of having to prove a negative.

Sincerely,

Mayor Karin Wilson

 

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