October 4, 2012

Editorial: Misuse of power


But that would be irresponsible. Zurlo, who, as county clerk, doesn’t have access to DMV records, said what he did was not malicious, and we believe that. But, no matter how well-intentioned he was, the fact is that he violated the policy of his own office and misused a staff member and department records. And it wasn’t an occasional error; Olds said it happened at least once a week starting in 1996.

Beyond that, DMV staff accessed the state databank by using Olds’s ID and password. They actually had it on sticky notes at their work stations. This kind of laxity goes on in business offices all around the country, but that doesn’t make it right. These employees are dealing with information that the government should be protecting.

Olds has already paid his penalty, having resigned in 2011 from a job he had held for 17 years. Zurlo is in an elected position and can’t easily be removed except by the voters. They may decide to do that or instead to overlook his transgressions in light of his body of work.

But it is clear that Zurlo owes the public an apology and the reassurance that he will re-establish public trust by making sure his office is operating at a responsible level of security.

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