Lantzville District Hall. NEWS BULLETIN file photo.

Lantzville councillors forgo report on costs associated with misplaced USB key

Memory stick with sensitive documents was lost and found by a former councillor last spring

The financial costs associated with a former District of Lantzville council member’s misplaced computer memory stick containing years of in-camera information will no longer be revealed.

Lantzville councillors voted unanimously to rescind 10 motions that had been approved by the previous council during a council meeting on Jan. 28.

Among the motions cancelled by councillors was one calling for a report detailing all costs, including staff hours and legal fees, associated with an incident last year involving then-councillor John Coulson and a misplaced USB key. Staff had recommended councillors rescind the 10 dormant motions.

Last July it was revealed that Coulson lost a USB key containing in-camera meeting minutes dating back to April 2014 after the district issued a press release advising residents about the matter. The district also said an investigation with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner was underway and urged anyone who had provided sensitive or confidential information to monitor for any improper use of that information.

Less than 48 hours after the district’s press release was issued, Coulson told the News Bulletin he found the USB key in his laptop bag. The incident eventually led to councillors voting 4-2 in favour of having staff produce a report outlining all costs associated with the matter.

At the time, both Coun. Will Geselbracht and then-councillor Mark Swain were both supportive of receiving a report motion.

RELATED: Lantzville councillors request costs associated with misplaced USB key

RELATED: Lantzville councillor finds missing memory stick

RELATED: Councillor loses memory stick with sensitive District of Lantzville information

Asked at the Jan. 28 meeting why the USB report motions were rescinded, councillors did not respond, with Swain saying, “all I can tell you at this point is yes, we have passed the motion to withdraw that item from staff’s to-do list at this point.”

Trudy Coates, the district’s director of corporate administration, said councillors examined the 10 motions during a committee of the whole meeting in January. She said the reason staff recommended councillors forget about the USB key report is because Lantzville doesn’t need to focus on the past anymore.

“Council is a forward-working body. They are not focused on expending our limited resources on looking backwards and calculating things that really don’t matter,” she said. “It was something that happened. We dealt with it.”

Speaking to the News Bulletin, Geselbracht said he supported the motion because council has to move on from the USB key incident and Coulson is no longer a member of council.

“We have a different composition of council…” he said. “It’s a smaller table now and I think you’ll see that there is a much better deportment in the council meetings.”

The district is fortunate that nothing bad appears to have happened as a result of the USB key incident, said Geselbracht.

He said he’d be supportive of implementing policies that dealt with the handling of sensitive district information, but that at the end of the day Lantzville needs to move on from the USB key matter.

RELATED: Lantzville plans to develop policy on recording in-camera meetings

RELATED: Lantzville will officially record council meetings 
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