Juicy email tidbit debunked

Email addresses from both Franklin and Greenwood city employees appeared on a list of accounts used on Ashley Madison, a website for married people who want to cheat on their spouse.

You may have been curious about who was using their employee email during work hours and on city property, using taxpayer-owned computers. Government officials were curious, too.

The leak showed two email addresses from Greenwood government and one from Franklin government were used. The three addresses were among more than 6,000 government email accounts tied to the cheating website.

Officials found out when the city emails were highlighted on a list of all the government emails tied to accounts. In each case, the city investigated and found that the email addresses listed weren’t even valid.

“Those were bogus. They are not legitimate,” Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said.

In Franklin, Mayor Joe McGuinness took inventory of his roughly 160 city employees and no last name of a current employee matched the name on the email. In fact, officials found that the name used belonged to a former employee who died more than seven years ago.

The domain name also was incorrect, since it used a hyphen where a period should go, he said.

The addresses tied to Greenwood also were invalid, since they swapped the way the city assigns email addresses to a person’s first initial and last name.

But just to be sure, city officials had the IT department look into the two names tied to the city’s email address.

The search came back empty. Neither name nor anyone else with a city email had any history of using an email for an Ashley Madison account, Myers said.

The city’s Internet, computers and employee emails were all checked, and the results were all the same: Nobody is using city emails, computers or work time to access a cheating website.

Neither Myers nor McGuinness knows how a fake email account tied to their government was used on the website.

If it had been one of their employees, both cities have policies in their employee handbooks that don’t allow the use of electronic devices, such as computers and cellphones, during work time for a personal use like the Ashley Madison website.

At Franklin, the Board of Works would be in charge of punishing someone who violated that policy, McGuinness said.

And something of that severity — using a city email to sign up for that website — is punishable by any measure up to termination, McGuinness said.

“The email domain is city property, so it would be a misuse of city property,” McGuinness said.

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Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.