Lantzville councillor finds missing memory stick

Coun. John Coulson says it was in his bag all along

A Lantzville councillor’s misplaced computer memory stick containing years worth of in-camera meeting minutes has been found.

Coun. John Coulson told the News Bulletin he found his missing memory stick on Thursday morning after returning home from a trip to Ontario.

“I found it this morning as I was unpacking my laptop bag from my trip. It was tucked in one of the many pockets,” he said.

Coulson said he was confident he would find it eventually.

“I was 95 per cent sure that it was somewhere in my home or in my vehicle because I had only had it out of my house a couple of times, but I couldn’t find it,” he said.

The District of Lantzville had issued a press release on Wednesday stating that Coulson had lost his flash drive, which could contain information about individuals and their dealings with the district between 2014 and 2018. Ronald Campbell, the district’s chief administrative officer, told the News Bulletin that the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner had been notified.

Coulson said when he reported his memory stick missing, he told district staff there were in-camera minutes on it, some recordings and some e-mail pertaining to district matters on it. He said while he didn’t have to tell them he lost it, he felt compelled to do so because he didn’t want to put the district at risk.

“I had to report it and that was my duty because if I had fully lost it and if it got into public hands then that creates a large issue for the district so I didn’t want to do that,” he said.

When asked about why he had in-camera meeting minutes on a memory stick, Coulson explained that it is “his job” to have them and that is simply how he does his business as a councillor.

“The way I do my job, I am accessing past minutes, bylaws, policies all the time during meetings and it was a convenient repository for everything pertaining to Lantzville,” he said.

Coulson said he accesses his memory stick during in-camera meetings and when he is at home doing research on various district-related issues. He said it’s been very convenient for him to use because finding information on the district’s website is difficult.

“Go on our website and try and find something,” he said. “It’s brutal. I asked district staff for electronic copies of the all the public meeting minutes, they wouldn’t give it to me, so I went my own route for storing stuff.”

No one has accessed the memory stick, according to Coulson, who said he has not had any communication with staff or OPIC since he reported the memory stick missing.

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