Thursday, January 03, 2008

First Head Rolls in Election Commission Break-in Investigation

Michael Cass reported a couple of hours ago that a security guard who was supposed to be on duty at 9:45 p.m. on December 24 when the Metro Election Commission was broken into was fired. The guard did not work for Metro, but for a Mt. Juliet subcontractor. My next question is, was this entirely the guard's fault? Or is he also taking the fall for flaws in the services that Metro pays for? What were his supervisors doing? We need to look at the entire chain of security.

We also need to ask tough questions about the practice of subcontracting to private firms. Could this problem--which has now become a very expensive one for Metro--have been averted if the Metro had its own security team (not to mention an alarm system) guarding Metro buildings? I think we would at least have a lot more public accountability if the guard were employed directly by Metro government. There would also be no protective cushion between private and public that gives supervisors easy opportunities to cover their own butts.

UPDATE: The Director of General Services told the Public Safety Committee tonight that the security guard was fired because he was observed and admitted to not making his hourly rounds.

UPDATE: Director also said that security might not have heard the window break at 9:45 because he was listening to Christmas music. She added that General Services is reevaluating its contract with and obligations of the security subcontractor.


  1. Mike, it seems to me if the Bicentennial Mall cannot afford security after dark then why would we expect our metro offices to have the same on holidays and weekends?

    Snark aside, the one question I'd like to hear is why are social security numbers required at all? The Election Commission has no reason to have this information to begin with and as long as organizations public and private continue to use ssn's as some sort of national ID number then they expose themselves to unneeded liability and us to harm's way.

  2. I agree with you. But Ray Barrett told the Committee tonight that the state requires him to use social security numbers to confirm voters identities. MEC can't do much to change the use of SS #'s, so I was interested in what can be done locally until such time as the state changes its voter confirmation protocols to protect us.

    Barrett conceded that there was a real problem in allowing these laptops to have this information. He also said that in the future laptops would not be used in polling place. A recommendation has also been made that MEC encrypt the entire hard drive of each of its computers to resist identity theft. But this could have been avoiding with something as simple window alarms.

    However, outside of what can be done in Davidson County, I agree that eventually the state needs to move away from using SS #'s.