Councilman doesn’t want prying eyes viewing e-mail

Servers are merged, but Hogan still concerned about privacy

January 28, 2009 at 9:05 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The servers of the Parish Council and the parish administration have been combined, a move that will save the government $20,000, according to Information Technology Director Kendall Stall.

But that doesn’t mean Councilman Paul Hogan is excited about it. In fact, the councilman is still upset about the move because he feels like his privacy can be violated.

“I’m just not happy that the servers have been combined, even though the administration says they can’t access my e-mails unless they know my password,” Hogan said. “I just think that if someone wanted to access my e-mails, they could figure out a way to do it.”

Hogan said that he’s not trying to hide anything - he just doesn’t want some of his ideas, which might never make it to the council drawing board, to get out to the public.

“There is nothing that I send in e-mails that I’m trying to hide, but I would prefer it if people on the outside didn’t know about some early ideas, which might get changed or may not even get presented to the council,” he said. “Also, if someone from the inside found out what I was working on, they could start making plans to counteract it.”

Hogan has already hired someone to help him look into encrypting his e-mails so that they will remain secure. He also requested that Stall meet with him directly to explain the new server and its security features.

“Erik Dufrene (information systems) and I answered questions that he had about e-mail routing and security,” Stall said. “The discussion was amiable.”

So far, Hogan says the server has been working fine.

“Besides that issue, I haven’t had any problems with the new server, except for one weekend” he said. “Other than that, everything has been running smoothly.”

One councilman who has had some problems is Shelley Tastet, who says that he didn’t receive any e-mails between Jan. 4 and Jan. 21.

“It’s a big deal because people send me e-mails all the time, and if I don’t get it, they think I’m ignoring them,” Tastet said. “I knew combining the servers was going to cause some conflict, but I thought everything would run more smoothly.”

Council Secretary Barbara Jacob-Tucker said that even though there were some problems in the early stages of the server merger, the IT department immediately set about correcting them.

Back in October, some council members didn’t understand the need for their server to be combined with the administration. At the time, Councilman Terry Authement said that he sends quite a few ordinances to other council members via e-mail and he was concerned if those ordinances, which could get pulled early on in the planning stage, would get out to the public. After Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said that the council’s e-mail servers would be combined with the server of the administration, regardless of their objections, Hogan told St. Pierre that he was working towards keeping the council server separate.

The move was eventually made because Stall says it is more efficient and cost effective to share Internet and virus protection services and have one technology staff to support it all.

“We will continue to be proactive at increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of operations within parish government with regard to technology,” Stall said.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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