That Was Fast
June 22, 2009
City apologizes, stops asking for Internet passwords
The city of Bozeman has stopped asking job applicants for their log-in information to online groups and social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
However, the city has only suspended, pending “a more comprehensive evaluation,” its practice of reviewing information found on password-protected sites, City Manager Chris Kukulski said, leaving open the possibility that it might find other ways to look at the sites.
The city ended the policy as of noon Friday because the city “appears to have exceeded that which is acceptable to our community,” Kukulski said. “We appreciate the concern many citizens have expressed regarding this practice and apologize for the negative impact this issue is having on the city of Bozeman.”
Acting Mayor Jeff Krauss said he expects the Bozeman City Commission will be reviewing the city’s hiring manual line by line.
“We might want to see what other interesting things are in there that we might have to address,” he said.
As for finding other ways to look at social-networking sites as part of evaluating a job candidate’s suitability for a city job, Kukulski defended that approach.
“We will continue to do our full due diligence to review any public information that we can get our hands on to research potential employees,” he said.
Read more here.
For the last few days, any internet surfer would be hard pressed to find a media outlet that DID NOT pick up this story. A few days after the story breaks and the town walks it back. But it sounds like they’re trying to have their cake and eat it to. In the face of intensely negative public opinion, they backed down, but only by “suspending” the practice, maintaining it was designed to elicit valuable information that is useful when making a hiring decision. They continue to state other practices that are useful toward achieving those ends will be considered.
But will this process reappear once TV reporters stop calling?
Look, I admire the intent to find information that allows them to hire qualified candidates who will keep the community safe and serve the people with honor and integrity. Too many companies are looking to cut corners these days. Hoping their candidate doesn’t have a criminal record rather than checking it. Wishing a degree comes from an accredited University and not a Diploma Mill. But there’s a line here. I wonder if the town feels they might just have crossed it.
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