Seized computer stirs debate

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City Administrator Fred Russell is fuming that Augusta Commissioner Calvin Holland ordered a city employee to remove the hard drive from Mr. Russell's office computer while the administrator was out of town this week.

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Commissioner Calvin Holland has expressed concern about improper computer use.  File/Staff
File/Staff
Commissioner Calvin Holland has expressed concern about improper computer use.

"I work for the commissioners, not one commissioner," Mr. Russell said in a telephone interview. "If six of them want to see my hard drive, I have no problem with that whatsoever. But individual commissioners should not be telling the staff what to do."

Mr. Holland, however, says he has the right to have the computer evaluated because Mr. Russell is a public employee. He said he is concerned because some city employees have been doing private business on their taxpayer-funded computers.

"As an elected official, I think I have a right to it," he said. "There are six or seven people doing outside business with their computers. I think we need to find out about it. That kind of information is public information."

Mr. Holland also said he was not out to get Mr. Russell or trying to hurt anybody.

Mr. Russell, who is taking vacation time to volunteer with the cycling event Tour de Georgia, said if Mr. Holland had asked him for the hard drive, he would gladly have given it to him.

"There's nothing on it," he said. "I haven't worked 30 years in Virginia and here to build up a good reputation and have it destroyed."

When Mr. Holland asked for the hard drive, Information Technology Assistant Director Gary Hewett telephoned Mr. Russell, who essentially said no.

Commissioner Marion Williams, who said he didn't know anything about Mr. Holland's request, agreed that the information on Mr. Russell's computer was public information.

He also agreed that he knows of several people who have businesses and have used city time and equipment to do business.

"I'm concerned about it," said Commissioner Jerry Brigham. "I don't think one commissioner ought to be going in and trying to run the government by himself. If it's that important an issue, we need to try to reach consensus before we try to be making moves."

Commissioner Don Grantham said Mr. Russell works for the commission, and if there is any type of personal information they need, it should come by the request of the commission.

Commissioner Andy Cheek alluded to Mr. Holland's request during Tuesday's city commission meeting, saying it was a violation of commissioners' duties and responsibilities.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (48) Add comment
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butterflygina
159
Points
butterflygina 04/21/07 - 04:23 am
0
0
Whatever he claims his

Whatever he claims his reasons are, I think the way he went about it was wrong. If they are going to investigate, should it not be a continous investigation. Not one person this week and pull the name of the next person out and check his computer next week. I think I better take my personal "favorites" off my computer at work!

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 04/21/07 - 04:26 am
0
0
Why couldn't Holland work

Why couldn't Holland work through the commission? Is this some of that "one upmanship" that seems to make the ARC commission so impotent? An uninformed public sure puts some incompetent clowns on this commission. How will Augusta ever grow past the large town point if all we have to work with is this level of commissioners? Come on Augusta, let's glean the clowns from the commission and elect people interrested in improving the area.

createyourfuture
68
Points
createyourfuture 04/21/07 - 05:35 am
0
0
This sounds like a vendetta

This sounds like a vendetta to me. How can a public official act on rumor to pull the hard drive on an employee when he was out of town. My mother taught me that if you want to deal with a rumor go to the source. Sounds like Mr. Holland missed that valuable part in his upbringing.

Seriously, Augusta will never get out of the last century with the government we have. Deke is doing a great job; why not elect some commissioners of like mind?

september 5th
1
Points
september 5th 04/21/07 - 05:37 am
0
0
if my holland had waited for

if my holland had waited for the full commission to vote..mr russell would have been warned and the computer would have probably been destroyed by fire! thanks mr holland for working for the people!

Pinchgut
2
Points
Pinchgut 04/21/07 - 05:55 am
0
0
Is Calvin Holland trying to

Is Calvin Holland trying to get into a race with Marion Williams to see who can wear the crown for being the biggest
"Dunderhead"?

september 5th
1
Points
september 5th 04/21/07 - 05:58 am
0
0
rainman, deke is eating a lot

rainman, deke is eating a lot of grits and trying to be friends with everybody..where is the leadership...deke will say this with one group and that with another group...what does deke stand for? nobody knows because his thoughts change depending on who he is with...

LouLou
6
Points
LouLou 04/21/07 - 06:06 am
0
0
DUH! DUH!! Stupid is as

DUH! DUH!! Stupid is as STUPID DOES! This is blatant UNLAWFUL ENTRY. What does Holland think he can do next? Go into one of the other members HOMES? Go in their homes to see if they are doing something "ILLEGAL" there? HOW DUMB CAN ONE PERSON BE?

chandle54
0
Points
chandle54 04/21/07 - 06:09 am
0
0
I think it's a good idea to

I think it's a good idea to check all the hard drives----starting with Holland and Williams. Commissioners who run up thousands of dollars on government cell phone and gasoline accounts aren't using their computers strictly for govt busniess. "And the people of Richmond County danced as the boat sank"!

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
Points
Da Voice Inside Your Head 04/21/07 - 06:19 am
0
0
Well we now who will replace

Well we now who will replace Marion Williams as the head dunce on the commission. The only question is who will take Andy Cheek's place as the dancing fool. Please tell me that these idiots aren"t the best that we can come up with to represent us. The others aren't much better. They sit on their cans and fiddle while Augusta burns. Get some backbone and bring the idiots in line. Quit playing race games and do what is best for Augusta. Before it's too late!

fugitivetracker
7
Points
fugitivetracker 04/21/07 - 06:25 am
0
0
Now what has Holland and

Now what has Holland and cronies added to this harddrive? It should be a neutral entity that removes a City employee's harddrive. One seeking the truth and not one out for blood. Some Commissioners are just too STUPID.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 04/21/07 - 06:27 am
0
0
If RC had a real IT

If RC had a real IT department, they wouldn't have needed the hard drive, it could have been accessed remotely. More importantly it would be backed up remotely on a regular basis. What if his computer had caught fire as someone above mentioned? Does that mean that RC has no data recovery system in place? That important communications and soft documents could have been lost? What Mr. Holland did may seem offensive but every public employee needs to be reminded that everything they do on a public owned computer can be made public record. Legally, Holland has done nothing wrong. What this situation does expose however is just how inadaquet RC is in terms of systems technology.

bubba01
0
Points
bubba01 04/21/07 - 07:14 am
0
0
the tables surely would have

the tables surely would have been turned if mr holland was a white man and mr russell was black. where is mr russell's civil rights? sure it's county property but if mr russell was black i'm sure civil rights would certainly be an issue.

juantez
254
Points
juantez 04/21/07 - 07:20 am
0
0
Martinez, I agree with you
Unpublished

Martinez, I agree with you 100%.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 04/21/07 - 07:24 am
0
0
I feel that the commissioners

I feel that the commissioners should have voted and requested the drive, not just Mr. Holland. They could have done this without Mr. Russell's and the newspaper's knowledge, then if anything was wrong then reported it. It is another "clown" trying to get the limelight. The problem with the people elected commissioner, there are no requirements for education or knowledge, just who gets the most votes. Very few are concerned with the taxpayer's dollar, most are concerned about power and control.

chloemalone
0
Points
chloemalone 04/21/07 - 07:43 am
0
0
Those commissioners have no

Those commissioners have no idea how to conduct themselves. This is not Uganda.

DCFONE
1
Points
DCFONE 04/21/07 - 07:52 am
0
0
This person Holland. What an

This person Holland. What an [filtered word] to the inth power. People like him must lay awake at night and find something to bring attention to themselves. If it was such a " right thing" to do, then, do it the honorable way, you PUTZ. The comm. does not need trash like him. These kind just keep Augusta from going forward. When will you voters ever learn????? I think he needss to be potty trained or left in the yard.

a2
1
Points
a2 04/21/07 - 08:16 am
0
0
I knew a supv. who did this

I knew a supv. who did this to an employee they didn't like. They got the IT dept to check the person's computer in hopes of finding something to get them fired for. Please don't use your computer at work for anything but official business, it's just noy worth the hassle.
Buy yuor own computer for use at home.

a2
1
Points
a2 04/21/07 - 08:17 am
0
0
I knew a supv. who did this

I knew a supv. who did this to an employee they didn't like. They got the IT dept to check the person's computer in hopes of finding something to get them fired for. Please don't use your computer at work for anything but official business, it's just noy worth the hassle. They also scanned e-mail.
Buy yuor own computer for use at home.

justanotherjake
0
Points
justanotherjake 04/21/07 - 08:28 am
0
0
Its behaivor like this that

Its behaivor like this that is at the heart of augusta's problems. Commissioners need to act like commissioners and pass ordances, set policy, etc. The Augusta commissioners all want to have their hands in every dept. That's why nothing can get done and the city stagnates.

alleycat
97
Points
alleycat 04/21/07 - 08:42 am
0
0
I believe he meant to be

I believe he meant to be sneaky. He probably knew the others would not agree with him so he decided to do it on his own. Power,this man seems to want more & more.
I believe he should be fired ,kicked to the curb,If a white commisioner did this he would be gone.This man is scarey and
arogant .People like that do not need power because the head tends to swell and they think they are better than others & get into others business.Looking for more power.

CSRAresident
1
Points
CSRAresident 04/21/07 - 08:46 am
0
0
You know the old saying, Give

You know the old saying, Give em and inch and they'll take a mile. People with a grain of importance is the downfall of this city and nation.

CSRAresident
1
Points
CSRAresident 04/21/07 - 08:49 am
0
0
Marion Williams said WHAT

Marion Williams said WHAT about personal business on city time? I guess he never discussed his personal windfall sale of the church on city time. By the way, I wonder how many calls on his cell phone are personal?

bordeaux
0
Points
bordeaux 04/21/07 - 09:48 am
0
0
Why not look into everything?

Why not look into everything? A good place to start is commissioners using city cell phones for personal calls.

gcap
290
Points
gcap 04/21/07 - 09:56 am
0
0
Boy, am I glad I moved to

Boy, am I glad I moved to Columbia County. If Fred Russell wants to come to our county, I say bring him on. If any of the Richmond County commissioners ever want to move to Columbia County, I sincerely hope they don't run for office. Their candidacy alone would be an embarrassment.

ONLY THE TRUTH
2
Points
ONLY THE TRUTH 04/21/07 - 09:59 am
0
0
Mr. Russell should look into

Mr. Russell should look into Mr. Holland's City paid cell phone bill. If there is a personal phone number on it Mr. Holland should step down.

luckie
2
Points
luckie 04/21/07 - 10:05 am
0
0
Holland is looking for points

Holland is looking for points just like Hasan was with the Board of Education. This will backfire on you even if you have good intentions. He has shown his lack of computer literacy because the harddrive could have been checked without comfiscating it. The systems technology personnel should make it a point to expeditiously check everyone because it is not fair to single one person out. Start by checking Holland and comfiscate his cell phone ASAP.

Curlie56
9
Points
Curlie56 04/21/07 - 10:22 am
0
0
Holland nor any of the other

Holland nor any of the other commissioners ask other employees for permission to review their computer hard drives! So, why does Fred Russell get to give his permission? The commission is Russell's boss, and as long as that computer belongs to ARCounty, it can be reviewed anytime. If he wants privacy on a computer for his permission only, he should make sure he has a locked laptop with him being operated by battery...not county electricity! Every county employee's record and possessions when on county property is subject to search and seizure with cause...and sometimes just because...no permission needed......County employees read your book! Was it Russell who seized the female attorney's computer the other day to catch her doing real estate closings on the company computer? We were informed Russell instigated that search and seizure without her permission, which is what made Holland do it to him. He didn't get her permission!

crystalball
1
Points
crystalball 04/21/07 - 10:30 am
0
0
Mr. Holland has opened the

Mr. Holland has opened the door for Commissioner's cell phone and gas mileage charts to be checked for personal business.
The people of Augusta should be entitiled to know why some of the bills are too high. Let the Commissioner's be accountable .

DCFONE
1
Points
DCFONE 04/21/07 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Augustas commissioners

Augustas commissioners believe they are not even accountable to God. Guess what folks, get your heads out of your behinds and do your job right. Believe it or not, God IS watching you.

jayse30
0
Points
jayse30 04/21/07 - 01:18 pm
0
0
Mr Russell is a city employee

Mr Russell is a city employee and as such his computer and all the data held therein is the property of ARC. It is NOT illegal entry (LouLou). Martinez - you have got it right. What is the problem? I for one am interested to see if anything incriminating is found. Does Mr. Russell hold himself above the rules and procedures that other ARC employees are subject to? This is not an issue of civil rights - why would anyone portray it that way?

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