MSD worker fired in security breach

July 13, 2007

By Phil Sutin, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District has fired an employee after executives learned the employee had downloaded Social Security numbers of about 1,600 current or former district employees to a home computer. The Social Security numbers were part of a computer file the district uses to make sure workers get the proper pay.

The employee had worked more than 10 years in the finance department. Lance LeComb, a district spokesman, said the employee had insinuated to fellow workers that file could be used to retaliate against the district if that person was disciplined for poor performance.

District managers on June 20 learned about the downloading. They called the St. Louis police and FBI. Federal agents confiscated the home computer and FBI experts said they are very confident that the document had not been copied or sent to another source, Jeff Theerman, agency executive director, said on Thursday in a report to district trustees.

The district fired the employee on June 27 and two days later sent a letter about the security breach to everyone listed in the file.

LeComb declined to name the employee citing district confidentiality rules and noting that police and the FBI told the district that they would not seek charges against the employee.

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