County Clerk Adam Bello, a Democrat, and Brian Marianetti, leader of the County Legislature's Republic caucus, are having a war of words over how clerk's office employees handled some sensitive documents.
The quarrel goes back to May, when WHEC reporter Berkeley Brean got a tip that Bello's Henrietta DMV branch was improperly disposing of items containing sensitive personal information, including names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. In a trash receptacle outside the Henrietta office, Brean's source had found a variety of documents, including an employee time card, voter registration cards, and three registration requests from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office for undercover cars.
Brean then checked the trash outside of the Greece DMV office, where he found nothing, and the Irondequoit office, where he found a smaller set of documents containing personal information. After he reported on the findings, Bello started an internal review and changed office procedures, and Marianetti asked the county Office of Public Integrity to investigate.
The OPI's report was released recently, and Marianetti blasted Bello over its conclusions and called on hm to take corrective action. He also accused Bello of making misleading statements about the extent of the problem right after Brean's report. Bello initially said one clerk and a substitute custodian seemed to be the employees who mishandled the documents; the OPI report says the full collection of documents points to eight or nine employees.
But the OPI report also acknowledges that Bello was working with limited information. His initial review was based on the few documents Brean showed him from the Henrietta office, which were just part of what Brean had. The OPI report acknowledges that Bello "and his management staff took immediate and substantive corrective action regarding the handling of protected and personal information at all county branches of DMV." It recommends that those processes be "codified" and continued. It also makes a few other recommendations dealing with policies and training practices.
In a statement responding to the report and Marianetti, Bello said that "four out of the five steps identified by the OPI are initiatives that my office has recommended and are currently implementing."