GJ revamps computer rules

Grand Junction city employees will be subjected to random audits of their computers, and the city will hold on to all e-mails received in its computer system for at least two years under a revamped policy that will take effect Dec. 1.

City officials say the changes are intended to make employees more conscientious about how they use city-provided computers and cell phones and help the city comply with new federal and state laws governing the maintenance of electronic records.

“We don’t want to cut off employees from their families or their co-workers,” City Manager Laurie Kadrich said Monday during a review of the new policy with the City Council. “We are interested in making sure we don’t have employees doing their business on our computers. We don’t want people shopping (online). We don’t want to be in the headlines” for inappropriate use of city computers.

The city keeps e-mails for 30 days before they’re purged from the system. Under the new policy, all new e-mails will be available for 21 days before they’re moved to a personal folder and stored there for two years.

City employees will then have the option of separating e-mails into folders based on their content, where most of them would be kept indefinitely.

Employees will be selected randomly for monthly audits of their computers. Administrators will monitor e-mail usage for business purposes and review e-mail attachments.

“We want everyone to understand the risk of blurring the line between business and personal use of city resources,” said Melinda Catapano, the city’s new records manager.

City administrators say the change could open the city’s electronic records to greater public scrutiny while also providing the city with more information to defend itself against a potential lawsuit.


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