City manager deletes cloud, creates storm

Newburgh City Manager Michael Ciaravino has been accused of having a communication problem.

Now, his solo decision to delete all information stored on city government’s “cloud” because of a perceived “security breach” has angered Council members, some of who lost irretrievable information they accessed from their city-issued iPads.

Councilwoman Cindy Holmes called for an investigation of Ciaravino’s unilateral decision during Thursday’s work session, and new Councilwoman Hillary Rayford said department heads are in fear of the city manager because he uses his power “to an excess.”

During a half-hour discussion in which Ciaravino defended the decision, and Mayor Judy Kennedy and Councilwoman Genie Abrams argued against an investigation, an always-even-headed Councilwoman Karen Mejia made, perhaps, the best point.

“How does this not happen again,” she said. “This should not happen again.”

Ciaravino told the Council that “a substantial security breach” spurred his order to have reset all iPads and to replace a shared account among city officials with separate ones.

He said his mobile devices would tell him his location was being shared with now-indicted former fire Chief Mike Vatter and with former Councilman Cedric Brown, who supported Ciaravino’s hiring but then grew convinced the city manager needed to be replaced.

“I would look on my own devices and I was told that my location was being shared with Michael Vatter, my location was being shared with Cedric Brown, my location was being shared with other select Council people,” he said.

At some point Comptroller John Aber told him that his information was “distributed” across everyone’s iPad, Ciaravino said. The decision came after assurances everything created in a Microsoft suite was backed up to a server, Ciaravino said.

“It had to be done; it had to be done immediately,” he said. “This had been going on for months.”

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