Sensitive Payne County Documents go un-shredded, treasurer is responsible
By Christine VanTimmeren
The names and social security numbers of some Payne County residents end up in an outside dumpster. The county assessor says the county treasurer is responsible. County Treasurer Bonita Stadler says she had no idea social security numbers were on those documents. "I feel the way this was handled was just wrong and people need to know about it," said Payne County Assessor James Cowan. Cowan says on Tuesday some of his employees found sensitive documents in a dumpster outside the county administrative building. The documents dating back to the early 2000's have names, social security numbers and banking information on them and were in full view of the public. Cowan says he took pictures of the documents to prove it. "It's just wrong. It's simple to pick up the phone and have a shredding service come in," said Cowan. "Had I had any idea that there was anything sensitive in there, of course, it would never have been put out there," said Stadler. Stadler says the documents were thrown away because the statute time to keep them had passed. She says the labels on the boxes indicated there was no sensitive information in them. "I said these boxes need to go. They're ready for disposal," she said. Stadler admits she did not double check inside the boxes. She says her office hasn't used forms with social security numbers for years, so the thought never crossed her mind. Stadler says the mistake and the pictures were never brought to her attention. Those documents have since been taken to the landfill. Stadler says had the county assessor told her about the issue in person, she could have taken care of those documents properly. "Why didn't you bring me the material and let me look into it and say 'Oh my gosh, I didn't realize this was out there'," Stadler said. I asked the county assessor why he didn't go to the treasurer in person. He didn't seem to think she would have listened. The treasurer says there is tension between the departments.
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