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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Tuesday, January 7, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Former city employee misused computer, email
Last January, members of the city auditor’s investigative team received an allegation that Richard Anderson, a division manager in the Development Services Department, was using his city computer to help him with his other job as an instructor for what the auditors called a “professional organization.”
Anderson’s job as a division manager over commercial building inspections gave him responsibility for managing DSD’s projects, activities and staff. He was also “responsible for reviewing technical codes with boards and stakeholders and advising clients on complex building requirements, among other duties,” according to the report from the auditors.
Investigators looked at Anderson’s computer use between Jan. 1, 2018, and Feb. 8, 2019, and found 59 emails related to his secondary employment as an instructor. Brian Molloy, chief of the investigative unit, declined to name the organization Anderson was working for, but said he taught classes both online and in person in a field related to construction.
His email account contained 44 documents relating to his secondary job, including class rosters, book orders and requests for payment, auditors noted in their report.
Anderson left his city job in July to move back to West Texas, Molloy said. His decision to move was not related to the audit, but was something Anderson had been planning for a while, according to Molloy.
When the audit team spoke with Anderson, “he admitted to using his city computer and email for secondary employment out of ‘ease.’ He acknowledged that he knew that using his city computer for secondary employment was not something he should be doing. Anderson also admitted to taking his city computer to use at classes he taught in person ‘once or twice,’” according to the audit report.
In his written response, Anderson wrote that he had “no objections to what is in the report.” Clifton Franklin, the human resources adviser for the Development Services Department, also reviewed the report and noted that the employee was no longer with the city and DSD had no objections.
Under the city’s standards of conduct, city employees are prohibited from using city equipment or supplies “for private purposes.” City employees are specifically prohibited from using their city computers, email accounts and phones for private purposes, except in a manner that might be considered “de minimis.”
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Development Services Department: A city department that reviews development and inspection services.
Office of the City Auditor: This city department is created by the city's charter in order to establish and ensure "accountability transparency, and a culture of continuous improvement in city operations."