Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs to review IT protocols after lapse

Shelters of Saratoga private document posted to city website
Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan speaks to media during a press conference in May
Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan speaks to media during a press conference in May

Categories: News, Saratoga County

SARATOGA SPRINGS  — The city will be reviewing its website protocols after internal exit interview information from the Shelters of Saratoga was “inadvertently” uploaded to the city website, city Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan said.

“I truly believe this was an accident, it was human error, and we need to put in protocols to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Madigan said on Thursday.

The posting of the information on the city website last Friday has created tension with the city’s private non-profit homeless assistance program at a time when Shelters of Saratoga is without permanent leadership, following the departure of former executive director Karen Gregory.

The exit interview information was available on the city website for several days. Madigan said she received a message about it during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, which was the first time she was aware of it. She said the documents were immediately removed from the website. How many people may have viewed the documents while they were publicly available is still being determined.

In an email to supporters on Thursday, Shelters board Chairman Peter Capozolla, writing for the board, said “we’re shocked” that the information from an exhibit interview was posted, “violating the privacy of individual former staff members.”

Capozolla said the information was intended to be kept confidential, having been collected to help the board lead, manage and direct the organization. Shelters of Saratoga operates two shelters for the homeless on Walworth Street, as well at the Code Blue program that provides no-questions-asked winter shelter for the homeless.

“The board did not release this information, nor did it take any action to release it,” he wrote.

Madigan called the posting of the material “unintended and unfortunate.” She said a city employee formerly associated with Shelters of Saratoga accidently uploaded the wrong document to the city website while conducting city business on a personal laptop.

While the Department of Finance oversees the city’s information technology systems, Madigan said each city department is responsible for publishing its own material.

She said her department will be reviewing all its web protocols with the information technology and legal departments to ensure adequate and secure processes are being used, and she said the city wants to maintain a close working relationship with the shelter group.

Among the likely recommendations, she said, is that city employees be required to conduct city business on city-owned computers rather than their personal computers.

“The city will continue to support and encourage our good working relationships with the Shelters of Saratoga, and all non-profits and organizations that give so much to our community,” Madigan said.

“This is an unfortunate incident, but it happened and we need to own it,” Madigan said.

Reach staff writer Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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