Friday, September 7, 2007

BMV Boss booted

The state dropped the hammer today on Fairlawn's Deputy Registrar, Susan Suso, after our investigation last month that found BMV documents with sensitive information in the trash instead of shredded to bits. Here you can watch the latest story in this saga.

Those of you who saw the original stories on TV3 will recall that the BMV spokesperson said on camera that the documents were put there by "lazy" customers and therefore aren't the BMV's responsibility. That explanation certainly honked off the drivers whose info was trashed, but today it also T-boned Suso in the state's decision to can her. The termination narrative includes the phrase "your spokesperson blamed your customers in derogatory terms."

The letter actually spends more time chewing Suso's bumper for not cooperating after-the-fact than just problems with securing the documents.

What really stands out to me is how fast the investigation moved. We found the documents on August 8th and the state moved to fire Suso less than a month later. That should say a lot about the documents that were discarded and the lack of cooperation the investigators received at the Fairlawn agency.

In the end, my goal was to affect change, whatever that may be .. so that honest drivers don't see their identities stolen all because someone else was truly "lazy."

1 comment:

Susan M. Henry said...

Mr. Mansfield, I applaud you for bringing this story to light. Although I am and always have been a big fan of Akron Canton News, I did not see the news when this story broke. I first heard of the events when two investigators from the Ohio Department of Public Safety showed up at my front door to advise me they were investigating a matter regarding the Fairlawn BMV and asked if I could answer several questions. I was very disturbed when they informed me that my personal documents were among those retrieved from the trash at that location. Being employed in the criminal justice system and having been witness to the devastating effects of identity theft, I am vigilant in protecting my information. As I told the investigators, I would never discard anything with my personal information into any trash receptacle, public or personal without first shredding it. In speaking with the investigators, I was not only able to tell them exactly which document I had left with the clerk at the BMV, I was able to provide them with the clerk’s first name. I remembered these events clearly as I had specifically asked the clerk before leaving the counter if I needed the document she still had in her possession. I was told no, and assured she'd take care of it and told that I had everything I needed in my hand. I was confident she would properly dispose of the form, an application for registration by mail. I was appalled when I later learned that a representative from the Fairlawn BMV, identified as the son of the Deputy Registrar, had made a statement to the media attempting to lay the blame on the customers for the breach calling them “lazy” and suggesting they were the ones who discarded the information into public trash receptacles. Obviously, the investigators determined his statement less than accurate, I defined it as a blatant lie. I commend the investigators for acting so swiftly and am happy to see Ms. Suso’s deputy registrar contract has been revoked. Hopefully, the employees who were identified as handling those documents have been asked to pack their bags too.

Thank you Mr. Mansfield! You certainly were successful in your goal to affect change. It is stories such as this that act to educate the public and hold business' accountable to the public they serve.