In the wake of a recent incident in which private school documents were removed from the former Evans Middle School, Columbia County officials agreed Tuesday morning to start their own Personal Privacy Task Force.
Todd Glover, the county's management services director, presented the idea Tuesday to a county audit committee, which approved of the idea.
Glover said such a task force - to include himself, someone from the sheriff's office and representatives from the county's finance, human resources and information technology departments - would examine individual county departments to see how personal information of workers is being stored and what is and isn't allowed to be distributed to the public as part of Freedom of Information laws.
"I felt like we ought to be proactive,'' he said to the committee.
Committee member and Commissioner Diane Ford said the task force is a good idea.
"That's a very good proactive measure because of recent happenings in our county and other areas,'' she said.
Sheriff Clay Whittle, a member of the county audit board, echoed Ford's thoughts.
"There's nothing wrong with having public information out there, but at the same time we need to protect our employees,'' he said.
The incident that spurred the task force creation involved several documents, including personal information about teachers and some pupils, being accessed by the public from the old Evans Middle site at North Belair and Washington roads.
The information was left unattended at the former school when it was vacated for a new Evans Middle off Hereford Farm Road.
School system officials have said they are investigating why the materials were left at the old school and whether they might have been viewed by members of the public.
On Monday, some doors to the school were left open and windows had been shattered. By Tuesday, doors had been secured and no-trespassing signs were posted.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office also has been called in to investigate the case as a possible burglary.
Glover said he would like the county's task force to begin immediately.
"This is going to be a lengthy process,'' he said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.