When multiple readers inside the government contacted us last week to tell us they were having trouble accessing Niagara Times on their office computers, we began to wonder what was up.
Well, it didn’t take long to get an answer from a very reliable source inside the Brooks Building.
It seems that County Manager Greg Lewis had a fit of rage when a county employee made a casual remark about him being “in the final year of his county manager gig.” Lewis then apparently pressed the employee, who said he’d seen the Greg Lewis Countdown drop below the One Year mark on this blog.
Now, if you’re viewing this blog from anyplace other than a Niagara County government office, you’d be able to verify that. But we are told that Lewis was so enraged by the employee’s “insolence” (his word, not ours) that he summoned the county’s IT Director to his office and demanded he block county employees’ access to the Niagara Times.
From what we’re told, that was a tall order, and would have made it impossible for county employees to view a number of other websites, so Lewis eventually settled for the IT Department just blocking the Countdown clock.
But that’s where things get interesting.
Apparently, the county’s “WebSense” software is now blocking access to various networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—which was the only way Lewis could block the Countdown clock itself. Now, some may not care if county employees can Tweet what they’re doing, but understand, most Fortune 100 companies consider the social networking sites vital to their business models, and we’re told that several county department heads were examining ways to more fully integrate the social and business networking sites—which are increasingly used by the under-50 set for business and social transactions alike—into how the county does business and offers services, which other counties have already done.
Which means Greg Lewis’ fit of pique is going to prevent a lot of county residents from easily accessing information on things like flu vaccinations and road maintenance and county job openings from the networking sites, which are gaining influence every day.
But even if residents are getting screwed, at least Greg Lewis won’t have to suffer the indignity of county workers counting down the dwindling minutes and hours of his existence in Niagara County.