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Floresville scrambles to plug security holes
‘If we’re going to enforce these types of things for others, we need to be doing them ourselves.’ — Floresville City Manager Henrietta Turner
Wilson County NewsJanuary 29, 2014 4,158 views 7 comments
No one has been charged following a burglary at Floresville City Hall, reported on Nov. 26, 2013. However, the break-in and allegations of an information leak have officials scrambling to improve security.
Early that morning, Detective Jesse Gutierrez of the Floresville Police Department discovered that a rear door at City Hall on D Street was ajar. Stolen from the building were items including computer air cards and keys to a silver 2005 Ford Escape used by the city’s Permits and Code Compliance Office. (See “Floresville cops seek clues after City Hall break-in, Dec. 4, 2013.)
This incident occurred one day after former Floresville Councilman Jim Miller tendered his resignation because of a deal with 81st Judicial District Attorney Rene Peña. That information might have been leaked from City Hall, as mention of the resignation letter was made on a Facebook page titled “FTP FloTownPolitics,” shortly after it was received by City Manager Henrietta Turner, Mayor Diana Garza, and City Secretary Sherry Pollok.
The Wilson County News, in an attempt to get to the bottom of the leak, filed an Open Records request in December. The newspaper asked for copies of written usage policies for city-owned Internet, email, and telephones, as well as for electronic records retention. In her response, Turner acknowledged that such polices do not exist.
Also requested were various official records from Nov. 24-30 for Turner, Mayor Diana Garza, City Secretary Sherry Pollok, and administrative services employee Margaret Aranda, including:
•Cellular telephone and landline telephone records
•Transcripts of email sent or received by their city-issued computers, tablets, laptops, and smartphones
•Histories of all websites visited by their city-issued computers, tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
With regard to telephone records, the city has yet to provide information related to mobile phones. According to Pollok, the voice over Internet protocol telephone system in City Hall does not keep phone-specific records of calls made or received.
Turner’s response also indicated that the city does not maintain records of websites visited by city-owned computers and smartphones.
“That detail, in and of itself, was news to me,” she said during a Jan. 15 interview.
Policies related to computers and telephones are among the items being reviewed, as Turner soon will recommend an updated personnel manual to the city council. The current version was written in 2002 and revised in 2009.
But the city did provide 387 pages of email messages. None of the information yielded any clues about the information leak, but some of the messages between Turner and Construction Manager Andrew Barrientes shed light on the break-in.
“FYI, moving forward I will be locking my office when I leave, if you need access Margaret [Aranda] has an extra key,” Barrientes wrote in a message Nov. 26.
Minutes earlier, Barrientes wrote an email message indicating that not only were the vehicle’s keys and a laptop computer air card taken, but a “flash drive with city information” also was stolen.
Because there was no set protocol related to security checks at City Hall, Turner said the Floresville Police Department has been directed to inspect the building twice per shift. The department runs three shifts per day.
Additionally, Turner said she has met with Police Chief Lorenzo Herrera and Floresville Fire Department Chief Lorenzo Ortiz with regard to gathering input on addressing “life-safety issues” in City Hall. The building is in need of various security and fire-suppression updates.
“If we’re going to enforce these types of things for others, we need to be doing them ourselves,” Turner said.
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