In Nov. 20-26 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Russell Springs city commissioners entered into an agreement with the Kentucky Rural Water Association's identity theft prevention program during last week's regular monthly meeting of the city's leaders.
The program is intended to identify red flags that will alert its employees when new or existing accounts are opened using false information, protect against the establishment of false accounts, methods to ensure existing accounts were not opened using false information and measures to respond to such events, according to documentation provided by the city.
The city conducted an internal risk assessment to look at how at risk the current procedures were that allowed customers to create fraudulent accounts or manipulate existing accounts.
The assessment looked at how new accounts had been opened and the methods used to access customer's account information. By doing this, the city was able to detect red flags that were appropriate to prevent identity theft.
Some of the "red flags" the city adopted to detect a possible fraud or theft situation was an inconsistency among activity patterns, altered identification documentation, unidentifiable photos or physical descriptions, lack of correlation between the social security number and the date of birth and the social, address and telephone number being the same as that of other customers, among others.
If fraud occurs, the city employee who detected the fraud will respond in like manner to the situation by closing the account and notifying the city clerk as well as law enforcement.
The city of Russell Springs adopted several security procedures to help curb the possibility of fraud as well. Some of those measures include locking files, documents and electronic media with secure information in file cabinets and access to sensitive information and accounts will be controlled by strong passwords, among others.
All United States utilities are required to comply with this regulation.
In other happenings at the meeting:
o Scott Redmon was hired as a full-time city employee. Redmon has worked on a part-time basis with the city since April, according to Commissioner Ray Barrett, who recommended that Redmon's status be changed to full-time.
Mayor Hollis DeHart said if the city had to resort to layoffs due to the current economic slowdown, that the last ones hired would be the first ones let go.
"We don't know exactly what is going to happen," the mayor said. "I want everyone to understand that their may be certain positions open that we may not fill."
"We have to be prepared for whatever is going to hit us down the road," DeHart said.
The mayor said he couldn't promise that city layoffs won't happen but said the city had to be ready for whatever could come their way.
o The commission agreed to talk with MXI about the possibility of taking city waste to Casey County by sending in a letter of intent to negotiate with the company.
If entered into an agreement, the waste would be baked, not incinerated, and there would be a by-product. This would ultimately lower the city's tipping fee, according to Mayor DeHart. The city of Jamestown and the Russell County Fiscal Court had already sent their letters of intent in to the company.
Other surrounding cities and counties are also expected to be in agreement. DeHart said it would only cost the city $15 a ton to deliver the wast to the MXI facility in Liberty.
o DeHart welcomed two winners of seats on the new Russell Springs City Council to the meeting in Ricky Barnes and Lisa Mann.
"I admire you for your efforts and dedication to this job," he said. The mayor also spoke on the governmental change that is due in January from a commission to council, a change that he says will bring forth much stronger checks and balances. The mayor will become the executive while the new council will become the legislature and will be co-equal in status.
o The commissioners heard the first readings of Ordinance 2008-09, an ordinance repealing ordinance 2007-21, correcting an error in a legal description, and Ordinance 2008-10, an ordinance adopting a modern and accurate legal description.