Thursday, 19 May 2022 13:33

Mayor: Unauthorized Personal Use of Email Contact Information Retained by City Rec Dep’t

SARATOGA SPRINGS — An investigation has discovered that a city Recreation Department email list in 2020 was sent to several employees outside the Recreation Department, “who would not normally have access to this information.” That “it may also have been released by other elected officials,” is additionally being investigated, city Mayor Ron Kim said this week. 

The issue was first raised during Public Comment period on May 3 when a local resident told the City Council of “a number of young parents in the school district receiving unwanted emails from an organization called Moving Saratoga Forward,” and that the only time they had placed their email on a list was with the city’s recreation department. 

“On or about May 3, 2022, I became aware of the possibility that an email address list that included email addresses of several thousands of local residents who participate in Saratoga Springs’ recreational activities and retained by the Mayor’s Department of Recreation may have been impermissibly sent sometime in 2020 to the personal emails of former City elected officials,” said Kim, whose term as city mayor began Jan. 1, 2022. 

“Upon learning this information, pursuant to Title 3(H) of the Charter, and for the purposes of protecting the data that this City collects from fellow Saratogians, I ordered an immediate investigation and report be produced by the Commissioner of Finance, who oversees the IT Department,” Kim said, in a statement. 

“Commissioner Sanghvi’s Department reviewed digital records and did in fact discover that on or about Oct. 21, 2020, the Recreation Department email list was sent to several employees outside the Recreation Department, who would not normally have access to this information. In addition, there is also digital evidence that the email spreadsheet was directly sent to former Mayor Meg Kelly’s Gmail account. It may also have been released by other elected officials, and we are continuing to investigate that possibility.” said Kim. 

“Any use of the Recreation Department’s email list outside of that department’s normal activities is a serious breach of protocol and trust and we are now taking steps to make sure this cannot ever be repeated (and) while no information other than the email addresses and names of residents appears to have been shared we did want to make everyone aware of this past breach as soon as we knew it had occurred and we assure you that we will not tolerate this activity from any City employee elected or appointed in the future.” 

Kim added that all information would be forwarded “to the proper legal authorities to determine if there were any criminal violations and will continue to report in a transparent and accountable manner any further information or results.”

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