Norwalk investigating mailings containing Social Security numbers

City official: "We are very, very sorry. Unfortunately, we can't take it back at this point."
Scott Seitz2
Jan 30, 2014
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Norwalk officials still are investigating how thousands of tax-related postcards containing citizens' Social Security numbers were mailed by a Cleveland company.

The situation was discussed at a city council meeting Tuesday night and first reported in the Norwalk Reflector the next day. A follow-up story also was published in Thursday's issue.

Diane Eschen, finance director, said the city provided Shamrock, the firm which processed the postcards, information including the Social Security numbers.

Eschen said the company assumed the numbers were city file or account numbers and printed them on the card that was mailed, not realizing they were Social Security numbers.

The cards were originally mailed to provide residents access to 2013 Norwalk municipal income tax forms.

City residents who received this first card should destroy it, Eschen said.

A second card is in the process of being mailed.

"Some residents have already received their second card," she said.

"We are very, very sorry," Eschen said. "Unfortunately, we can't take it back at this point."

Eschen said Shamrock is a large company that provides similar services for cities such as Toledo and Columbus.

The first batch of postcards cost $4,000, not including postage.

The second batch is being mailed at no cost to the city.

Eschen said though she knows it might not provide much consolation, the cards were sent to individuals with their own information.

"Shred it -- tear it up," she said.

Will the city contract with Shamrock in the future?

"At this point, we're having conversations with them," Eschen said.

Law Director Stuart O'Hara is also monitoring the situation.

"Sure, the city is upset and disappointed it happened," he said.

"Last year was the first time we did it," O'Hara said. "But, the cards last year did not have overt identifiers on it."

Jeff Colvin, Norwalk Certified Public Accountant, said Wednesday he originally called the city about the issue.

"I'm very concerned," Colvin said. "But, I'm not surprised anymore and that's not directed at the city, really at federal and state levels of government.

"Whether it's the federal or state level, everything has to be done fast," Colvin said, adding the emphasis is placed on getting thing done quickly at the federal and state level rather than correctly.

"This is stuff I see happen all the time," Colvin said. "Unfortunately, there's no accountability."

Comments

In my opinon

@contango..You may be the unofficial mayor in Mr. cannons eyes but he seems to think he is the godfather of the forums. He has his opinion and should let you have yours, non of us agree on everything some on nothing but our own opinions should be ours.

Cliff Cannon

@In my opinion : Now this is a new one. Imagine that, someone let alone me, not letting Contango have his own opinion.


Well respectfully, I say to you the same thing I just wrote to WASP71 yesterday on this same article :
" @ WASP71 : I understand your point. Further, in debate, one must never forget , that every point has 360 degree's around it, which leaves plenty of room for multiple people to be correct. Would you agree ? "


So as you can see. I very much understand we all not only have, but are entitled as well to our own opinions. Further, practically no one changes their mind in a debate, so the best one can hope for is to seed new idea's in their opponent's brain.


Further,I love intelligent rebuttals ! In fact, rebuttal is where the action is in debate. Unfortunately, a lot of very talented commentators ( like your self )often respond just once.


Which is what makes Contango so much fun for me. He is a 'pro & con', shoot from the hip 'did you look at the subject from this angle yet ' or 'what do you mean by this word ' type debater and they are hard to find.


I also point out the obvious. Both " the unofficial mayor " as well as " the godfather of the forums " lack the courage or desire or what ever you want to call it to run for public office. So kindly temper that into your opinion as well please.


Final question : Can I be a 'godfather ' like James Brown since he could dance so well ? After all being a big fat, unable to talk clearly Marlon Brando type 'godfather' doesn't look like that much fun,does it ?


Great day to you

Contango

Re: "How would you resolve this ?"

Severe reprimand or termination.

Shamrock did not make up the SS#s, they were provided - by whom?

Again: No printed proof prior to mailing?

methodman

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Contango

Re: " It won't take peeking inside a postcard"

Good to read that you don't mind the city using taxpayer dollars in order to help provide it.

No charge for the second printing & mailing?

Reads like they're admitting 'at least' partial, if not 'total' liability.

If it was 'indeed' Shamrock's issue, where's the refund?

methodman

You should def run for mayor. U have my vote.

Contango

Re: "You should def run for mayor."

So changing captains on the Titanic woulda made a difference?

Who campaigned on "jobs, jobs, jobs"?

Should politicos be held accountable for campaign promises?

This community has some 'serious' systemic problems that have been festering for decades.

You wouldn't like my ideas of fiscal austerity and I would never be elected.

H*ll, most public ees. are on a wage freeze. How long do you think that they will continue to accept it?

methodman

If the new captain would put more people on the life boats it'd of helped. Youre holding them accountable so ill hold u accountable. Dont just sit there, DO SOMETHING!!! Festering for decades? Well before jobs,jobs jobs eh? Would your fiscal austerity include any jobs,jobs, jobs.? I think u wont see any public ees. going anywhere considering their insurance and pension packages. Wage freeze? If they do leave im certain there will be someone readily available for that position, wouldnt u agree? Sorry for bustin your balls all the time.

swiss family

"iFF".. you might want to get your ego in check, it is getting out of control, And with your posts i. it is becoming obvious how stuck on yourself you are...

You say....He, obviously having read the blogs agreed with me on Mrs. Eschen's talents and said ---no doubt, she could do it. Are you serious??? do you really think that the Mayor, or any other city administrator, read your comments to figure out what to say and do????? if it weren't so funny, it would be pathetic...Someone might want to remind you, of what you have already told us all,constantly, that you started out as a truck driver for Fanny Farmer, and they closed up shop, then you went to work for Norwalk Furniture, and they closed up shop... I might start to see a pattern developing here???? I think the Mayor, and the City and even the newspaper can survive on their own, even without all of your self proclaimed wisdom....and kissing so much Butt....

Cliff Cannon

@ swiss family : " that you started out as a truck driver for Fanny Farmer, and they closed up shop, then you went to work for Norwalk Furniture, and they closed up shop... I might start to see a pattern developing here???? "

I told my current boss of this,obvious problem, when applying for work and thankfully he was still willing to give me a chance to prove myself.


So, I am grateful to him, for giving me the opportunity to work for him in an effort to prove that sad history wrong.( Although, I must confess that 'furniture', despite me being a cheerleader only, rebuilding, is one of the happiest things of my life.)


Also, may I thank -you for hating me so much ? After all a man is known, perhaps, most of all by his enemy's and if a er,ah,a " man " such as your self liked me. What would that say about me ?


Again, selfishly, I can not thank you enough for hating me. Although, that selfishness,troubles me as selfishness, must. Can't we all can agree, it is truly an honor to be hated by such a wretched, mean, unhappy, jealous person as your self ?


Terribly sad, unhappy, hate filled day to you. Because we all know you will like that ( Then I add, wishing this for you help's me not to feel so bad, for enjoying your hatred of me so very much )

Fibber Mcgee

Agree with Cliff also. She has been a watchdog of the cities monies for many years.

DOWNinUPTOWN

Just love how strongly they urge you to shred/destroy the 1st card they sent out(with everyones SS# on it)...Why have us destroy them? Oh because when the suing starts they dont want us to have any proof...

csnighthawk

"Eschen said the company assumed the numbers were city file or account numbers and printed them on the card that was mailed, not realizing they were Social Security numbers."

Ok, so now that Shamrock does know they are SS#'s how does that prevent any of Shamrock's employees from using them for fraud?

Are they temp employees?
Diane, What has Shamrock done at this point to safeguard our SS numbers?

former local

I guess I am confused as to why it was necessary for them to have the social security numbers to do the mailing? No one should EVER provide social security numbers to another company without the persons permission.

Ben Crazy

Im sure she didnt mean to do it , she was just haveing a bad day. im sure she just needs another chance. To Screw up AGAIN!!!!!

Contango

@ NR:

Gotta ask; where's this story from the same edition?

"Huron County's jobless rate stays in double digits, now 6th worst in the state."

“Facts are stubborn things” – John Adams

kURTje

Contankerous = do nothing pdb.

Contango

FYI:

"Mailing May Have Risked Taxpayers’ Identities"

http://fox8.com/2014/01/30/maili...

Again: No proof?

DOWNinUPTOWN

Yea thnx for the link just watched it and all I gotta say about that is O'hara is full of bull.... blaming the printing company...what the hell they shouldnt even of had to send our SS#'s to the printing company. All the postcard was to do was to remind us to file, so they didnt need our SS#'s, so nice try O'hara come up with another lame excuse or scapegoat.

ThomasJefferson

Why did we need pay an outside company to send these out to begin with. It cost $4000 not including postage, and we couldn't send them cheaper than that. How is is okay to give any company our SS numbers to begin with? And I am just curious. And just because a government employee has been in that position for decades does not mean they are great at their job. I am not saying she's not-but how do any of you know for sure what kind of job she does?

jonutt

The city should pay for one year of credit monitoring for each person it mailed the postcard to.

Lawyerintraining

@mr cannon I see you have no off the wall response to being asked several times "WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO FIX THIS" you are going to have to be a little quicker on your feet if your going to act like a public official...chain her to her desk hhuummm I'm guessing being chained to her desk maybe the reason why this has happened "she has been there too long already" I also see and agree with FORMAL LOCAL and it only took 2 lines to say NO ONE ASKED ME TO USE MY SSN....I'm also guessing you are not military in any way or you would be a little more over protective of you SSN or maybe you were just one of the lucky ones to have not had your SSN put out there...if that's the case I'm happy for you...as for the rest of us it will only be a matter of time before an attorney is retained for a class action lawsuit ... And hopefully a change of offices for next election

Contango

Re: "SSN"

Also used in college as an ID number.

Social Security cards used to state on the front (in caps):

"FOR SOCIAL SECURITY PURPOSES - NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION"

Guess not huh?

Cliff Cannon

@lawyerintrianing : Here's my solution and I know it will work.

For many years I ran a softball team and now play on my son's team. We have always had just one rule-- if the ball goes through your legs you have to chase it. Then once we have the ball back. You have to be ready for the next play


And that is it. Why ? Because criticizing, embarrassing really , a hustling ballplayer --who just blew it in front of everybody--does no good what so ever. After all the player who cares, is already beating them selves up for the error, correct ? So why pile on ? Besides, what they really need is encouragement , true ?


So if I was Mayor, there would be a press conference with me supporting like crazy the good people who made this 'error'. Because, the 'error ' has already happened and now ,it is in fact, time for the next play-- dealing with it, true ? ( and one would be stupid to kick good players off their team for making an error , true ? )


Now on the other hand. A few weeks ago we had some one turn into the " Toledo Blade " councilman Carleton's racially charged email, remember ?


This despicable act, which puts Mr Carleton's life in danger, as well as the lives of our policemen, makes Norwalk look terrible. Obviously,it was done on purpose ( and yes, I blame Mr. Carleton for sending it ) and we have yet to be told by whom.


So if I was Mayor you can bet I would do my level best to find out who did this.If it was a city employee they would be kicked off ( fired) the team. Then they would have --their name on the front page--- of the paper and then instead of different websites ( Google it and see for your self )making fun of Mayor Duncan's response. They'd likely see this headline : " Norwalk Mayor punches backstabber "

I trust this answer's your question's

Contango

Re: "So if I was Mayor, there would be a press conference,"

Unfortunately (or fortunately) you are not (& neither am I) and he didn't.

I go back to the old Watergate questions:

What did they know and when did they know it?

Or the “six serving men”:

Who, what, when, where, why and how?

IMO, this was preventable, why wasn’t it?

Regardless of the 'free' second printing, the city is still out $4K plus probably postage.

Cliff Cannon

" the “six serving men” Are you a Kipling fan ? Just curious, because in my opinion, he seems to be the originator of this phrase.

".... fortunately you are not... " ( Mayor ) May I add a hearty THANK GOD for that ! As I 've said many times, I am very grateful for all the people who serve in public office. Because, I for one, would not have the patience these incredibly tough jobs require

Contango

Re: "six serving men"

Though I've read some Kipling; a graduate of Toastmasters and a short-time trainer with Gabriel Richard.

http://articles.chicagotribune.c...

Cliff Cannon

" Though I've read some Kipling... " It is important ( I think ) to remember Kipling may have answered to those " six serving men "as he said he did. Yet, he lost track of his soul along the way. ( My Opinion, obviously )


Although, perhaps, I error once again, as he did say after enthusiastically getting his half blind son into, then being killed in W.W.1 " "If any question why we died/ Tell them, because our fathers lied."


O.K. I admit, I am totally wrong in disliking Kipling so much. Because, after all, aren't we discussing folks who admit to serious mistakes they made and my willingness to forgive them ? Guess, I shouldn't be so harsh on Kipling then either,should I ?

swiss family

"iFFord" you poor misguided stooge...you seriously believe that the inappropriate racially demeaning emails that Mr Carelton sent, were "OK" but the person who was offended by them, and who leaked it to the outside news source, should be fired????Honestly, I thought that you we capable of a more logical answer, but I was wrong...Oh and every time I see you say "If I were Mayor" all I can picture is you and your well publicized mug , breaking an urn, ,like the cowardly lion did, and instead of singing "If I were King of the forest....." you are singing " If I were the Mayor of Norwalk......" and I Pray that, that never becomes a reality....

Lawyerintraining

As a matter of fact Mr. Cannon this does hot even remotely answer my question..1st you are comparing are offices to a ball game are you for real 1st if as you say the ball went between his legs he has to turn around run and hustle to get the ball...I can only imagine what kind of coach you had to have been...I will respond to that question 1st... We were always taught to back that person up on the ball field In case he missed it..NOT TO BE THE SUPER HERO OF THE GAME.....NOW!!! Let me Give my example from an adult and military..as adults we BACK PEOPLE UP USUALLY...now as prior military we are taught from the first day we enter the bus to head to boot camp it is all about having each other's back..I don't care what color you are I don't care what gender you are..I only care that I will have your back and that you will hopefully have mine..

I have not scene one!!!!! Comment left on here by are so call law director and or this company called Shamrock..which I looked up just any one google shamrock Cleveland and it will come up that it is a data based company and has an office in Cleveland...I watched the Fox News and was disappointed in what they aired..THE ONLY REASON O Hara allowed this interview was because it was one sided....I am upset that Fox News did not even contact this company for there side...and if they did USUALLY they will either talk to the news and or release a statement that says they have nothing to say at this time...OHara was smug in his replies...BECAUSE HE KNEW THAT SHAMROCK HAD NOT BEEN CONTACTED BY THE NEWS OR ARE COVERING THERE BUTTS TILL THEY FIGURE OUT WHO IS AT FAULT AND DID NOT ISSUE A STATEMENT...now there Mr Cannon is where the ball should get rolling because I believe the citizens of Norwalk have at least 8,000 question to ask...so you failed as mayor because you have not offered the citizens of Norwalk to ask this company the questions they deserve to be asking them...so let's see the ball went through the mayors legs but he did not get up to hustle to get that ball he kept letting it roll behind him..and who was the man and or woman to back him up when the ball was rolling behind him like there should have been to help retrieve that ball as quickly as they could...answer NO ONE!!! Because in this town there is no such thing as BACK UP or I'm my langue chain of command..the BALL HAS BEEN DROPPED AND AS FAR AS I KNOW ITS STILL SITTING THERE....BECAUSE THEY ARE VERY VERY VERY SORRY....NOW THATS NOT GOING TO WIN THE GAME NOW IS IT....GET A NEW!!!!! Coach

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