Information technology (IT) troubles persist at the Lake County Courthouse, nearly five months after Sheriff Amy Reyes first accused the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) of improperly accessing her office’s emails.
Johnny Aird, who was terminated from his role as Lake County IT director last September amidst the email saga, now works full-time in IT for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). Aird’s former assistant, Amit Shkop, handles IT for the rest of the courthouse with the help of Platte River Networks (PRN). According to the BOCC’s contract with Denver-based IT firm, the county pays PRN $7,700 per month for IT services.
On Feb. 12, it was discovered that the BOCC’s IT team, Shkop and PRN, had lost the administrative access to the courthouse firewall they share with Aird. Several county websites also experienced outages.
According to Undersheriff Jacob Freidenberger, Aird unintentionally caused the temporary website outages after identifying a county employee who was browsing pornography on a phone while connected to the internal courthouse Wi-Fi.
The next day, Commis-sioner Kayla Marcella acknowledged the county’s ongoing IT challenges in an email to county staff. The commissioner instructed employees to reach out to Shkop with IT questions, not Aird, as Aird is not authorized to work outside the sheriff office’s network.
A few hours later, Commissioner Sarah Mudge sent an email asking county departments to notify local, state and federal stakeholders that Lake County Government’s IT security had been compromised.
“Lake County cannot currently guarantee the security of anything coming in and out of the Lake County IT network since our firewalls have been and may continue to be compromised,” Mudge wrote. “This is something we cannot ignore. We have a responsibility and due diligence to communicate this to these agencies.”
Shortly thereafter, Freidenberger accused Mudge of asking county departments to report a security breach without evidence. He also explained Aird’s Feb. 12 actions in an email to county employees.
“Excuse me for not taking your word at face value, but currently there is no documentation or evidence supporting your claim,” Freidenberger wrote to Mudge in an email about the alleged security issues.
On Feb. 14, Marcella and Freidenberger released a joint statement assuring employees that there was no leak of county data, just a temporary outage caused by configuration changes.