WALKER -- The Cass County Board adopted an e-mail policy Tuesday to replace provisions of the personnel policy on e-mail.
It is modeled after a state policy.
The new policy states: "Cass County reserves the right to monitor all use of e-mail and Internet resources at the time of use, during routine post-use audits and during investigations."
Administrator Robert Yochum told the board the county has had several inappropriate uses of e-mail in the past.
Management Information Systems Director Tim Richardson said the policy gives employees up-front notice that e-mail can be monitored any time. He said e-mail has become a problem in many counties.
The policy prohibits using e-mail for illegal activities, wagering, betting or selling, harassment and illegal discrimination, fund-raising for any purpose unless agency sanctioned, commercial or personal for-profit business activities, political or religious promotion, offensive or racist or sexist or obscene or pornographic information, downloading software from the Internet unless agency approved or non-county employee use.
When Commissioner Rusty Lilyquist questioned how downloading a screen saver could be harmful, Richardson said some such programs have overloaded county computers or were written wrong, causing county computers to crash. Some have been a four-hour fix, Richardson said.
Employees will be permitted to conduct some personal or union business by e-mail on county equipment, but cannot do so using excessive time or for political activities, fund-raising, campaigning for union office, union organized activities or soliciting union members.
The policy emphasizes that any data placed on a county computer becomes part of government records and may go into back-up databanks for storage as a permanent record. It also notes improper disposal of data on county equipment may subject the employee and agency to legal sanctions and other administrative or legal consequences.
The county's electronic communications section of the personnel policy was last updated in 2001.
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