County Council Snooping on County Employees Internet Use

County Employees… You were warned about computing policies… Now some may pay the price.

From the West Hawaii Today:

Hawaii County’s Data Systems Department was instructed by the County Council Tuesday to determine whether some county employees are abusing their Internet privileges

I can see county employees SHITTING BRICKS ABOUT NOW!

…During meetings Tuesday with department heads to discuss their individual budgets for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong requested Data Systems Director Burt Tsuchiya to prepare a report on which Web sites employees are visiting during work hours…

Oh I would pay money to see what sites Department of Public Works Spokesperson Noelani Whittington is visiting..

Yagong said some employees have told him that other county workers are abusing their computer privileges by browsing Web sites that have nothing to do with their jobs.

Like for real… what does looking at my blog have to do with Noelani Whittington’s job?

…He said he wants a breakdown by department on “the types of hits departments are taking on the Internet during county time.”

Yagong said if there is abuse, “we would be able to correlate it to productivity.”

If, for instance, some employees in a particular department are visiting Internet sites regularly that have nothing to do with county business, the county “may be able to correlate that to overtime,” he said.

“I’m not saying there is abuse … but if a department is not able to get permits out on time then we got to ask,” Yagong said.

Anyone have any problems with DPW permits?

He said he is uninterested in terminating any employees, but if it is determined there is a problem, he believes the council should consider a new policy that states Internet abuse will not be tolerated.

North Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell said he doesn’t agree with Yagong’s position.

“Unless there is a gross abuse, the idea of being police … to me is a very dangerous stance to take,” Greenwell said.

If employees feel they are being watched all the time, that may hurt their productivity, Greenwell said.

“I know you mean well,” Greenwell said to Yagong, “but I think you’re treading on some pretty dangerous turf here. We don’t want to be police officers.”

South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford said she agrees with Yagong. “Being employees of the county … we need to hold ourselves to higher standards,” Ford said.

She said it is important to remove any appearance of impropriety.

Yagong told Greenwell that the potential problem is something he did not invent.

“The reason I’m doing this is because I was asked by employees to look into it … because they feel there’s been abuse,” Yagong said.

Tsuchiya said some popular Web sites such as Facebook, eBay and MySpace have been blocked from county computers, but agreed to prepare a report for the council.

Yagong said after the meeting he has two goals. “One, to find out the truth, and two, if it is happening, people need to understand it is not accepted behavior for people to be on the county’s time and the taxpayers’ dime … surfing the Internet.”

He said certain “incidental” uses of the Internet may be tolerated, but “if it’s a large abuse, that’s a problem.”

I don’t like the idea one bit to be quite honest with you… but that’s how it rolls when you work for the Feds, State or County. In fact a lot of private companies have the same restrictions.

If it’s gonna happen, I hope they make what sites certain members of the working public are actually visiting known upon request.

I would laugh at how much time is spent on my blog by a certain member of the Department of Public Works.

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