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    Missing County Records Jeopardize $300K Federal Reimbursement

    Jun 26, 2013
    A $350,000 reimbursement for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) work is in jeopardy because Athens County (Ohio) Engineer’s Office records inherited by the new county engineer, Jeff Maiden, are allegedly missing or destroyed; the situation has trigged a sheriff’s investigation.

    A $350,000 reimbursement for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) work is in jeopardy because Athens County (Ohio) Engineer’s Office records inherited by the new county engineer, Jeff Maiden, are allegedly missing or destroyed; the situation has trigged a sheriff’s investigation.

    Maiden, who took office in January, said he found the office’s records disorganized, deleted, or hidden and alleged that the previous administration had sabotaged them. Nearly six months later and at great time and expense, the engineer’s office was finally able to produce enough information to submit it for reimbursement to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, which manages the state and federal funding for the FEMA program.

    However, Maiden said he believes there may still be significant gaps. Although the office was able to determine staffing expenses by reviewing a year's worth of timecards, it has been more difficult to determine the amount of money spent on materials for the various projects, for example.

    When employees or former employees are inclined to sabotage an organization, it is very difficult to prevent it. However, solid information governance procedures can help minimize the amount of manual effort required to re-create records should this type of event happen. These protections should be in place:

    • Vital records protection and disaster recovery plan
    • Backup procedures for information important to business continuity
    • Frequently tested business continuity plan
    • Employee exit procedures, including a protocol for de-activating a departing employee’s access to critical information data

    Visit the ARMA International online bookstore for a large variety of resources that can help you develop or enhance these protections in your organization. Search by category or keyword at www.arma.org/bookstore.

    Read more: The Athens News, May 17 2013

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