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Published: Wednesday, 4/13/2005

Monroe County seeks court aid in alleged theft of information

MONROE - Monroe County officials said last night that they intend to seek a restraining order today against an employee in its information technology department who allegedly stole "thousands" of confidential e-mails and documents from the county's top officials.

After an executive session last night with its risk management attorney, county commissioners voted unanimously to file suit this morning in Monroe County Circuit Court against Larry von Maluski, who has worked for the county for three years.

A resolution passed by the commissioners alleges that Mr. von Maluski "accessed and copied various e-mail files from the county's computer system without authorization to do so," and that the files "contain numerous confidential communications."

County Administrator Charlie Londo said the situation was detected late last month, and that Mr. von Maluski was suspended with pay pending the outcome of investigations by Human Resources Director Peggy Howard and Monroe County sheriff's detectives.

Mr. Londo said Mr. von Maluski allegedly was upset about recent changes to the county's health care package for non-union employees which commissioners approved last month.

The changes are likely to result in increased out-of-pocket costs for the employees when the adjustments go into effect June 1.

The commissioners last night agreed to form an ad-hoc committee to look at ways to reducing the county's spiraling health care costs.

The committee, which is to include commissioners as well as representatives from employee groups, is to look at different strategies for reducing the county's health expenses, which have increased by double digits in each of the last several years.

In other action last night, the commissioners approved selling $6.5 million in bonds to improve water and sewer service this year in the southern portion of the county.

The South County Water System, which provides Toledo water service to about 10,000 customers in Bedford, Erie, and LaSalle townships and the city of Luna Pier, plans to spend $5 million this year to build a second pump station and feeder line for its system.

The new pumping station is to be built on land that the district bought several years ago near South Dixie Highway and Benore Road in Erie Township.

When completed, it will be fed via a new water main coming north from Alexis Road in Toledo to the pumping station and tying into the existing South County system.

Monroe County Drain Commissioner Dan Stefanski, who manages the South County Water District, said the secondary feeder line was requested by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to help balance out the system.

It also will provide an emergency backup should anything ever happen to the existing water main from Toledo, which travels north from Alexis along Lewis Avenue to a pumping station about a half-mile north of the state line.

The commissioners also approved a $1.5 million bond issue to pay for a new sludge storage facility at Bedford Township's Wastewater Treatment Plant. Both projects are slated to begin construction within the next few months.

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