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Try other security measures first

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Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 6:00 am

The intrigue involving Iberia Parish Government continues, including the mystery over copies of documents missing from or appearing in offices at the parish courthouse and elsewhere.

A controversial building permit was temporarily missing and a job description for a now-departed Public Works maintenance superintendent who also served as the parish’s unofficial public information officer was added to her personnel file, resulting in the Iberia Parish Council talking about installing security cameras to monitor who is doing what in parish offices, presumably including removing files.

In at least one case, the personnel file was supposedly in a locked filing room.

It’s doubtful someone off the street snuck in and took the files, or added to them, and more likely someone involved in parish government who had access to the files simply failed to return them — intentionally or not — or inserted a document in a personnel file.

Unless the security cameras have super high resolution and can read what’s on the papers it captures as part of the activity in an office, there’s no guarantee that cameras will prevent future instances of missing files.

It’d not be that difficult to simply not just rely on old-fashioned paper files, which can easily be taken, destroyed or simply misplaced. Digitally scanned copies of files could be saved electronically, on site and offsite, providing multiple backups in case a file in one place was missing.

The parish could limit access to these backup files. It could create a system that recorded if anyone deleted or added a file and when.

Before the parish spends thousands of tax dollars on a camera security system, if the intent is primarily to protect filing cabinets and their contents, maybe we could consider all the options.

And those options might include other issues about document security, involving who has access to files, and more.

It’s a shame this time and energy is being spent on these side issues at parish government, but it’d be a bigger shame to spend a lot of money on security cameras or anything else unless there’s confidence that’s really the most efficient route to accomplish the intended goal.

WILL CHAPMAN

PUBLISHER

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