May 7, 2009

City Hall blocking all sorts of websites

Memo from Scott Smith, the city's computer chief, to all city computer users:

From: Scott Smith
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2009 2:37 PM
To: *; *; *
Subject: Fwd: Internet Filtering (Forwarded from City Email)
Importance: High

To All City Computer Users:

The Internet is a great resource that can be used for many business-related activities, but our Internet access connection is running at maximum bandwidth.  We need to reduce the amount of traffic going through it or face additional expense. Therefore, we will be implementing additional blocking of certain categories on our Internet filter. The following categories have been identified as non-business related and will be blocked. Many of these were already being blocked. 


Adult/Sexually Explicit



Criminal Activity



Fashion and Beauty

Food and Dining




Hobbies and Recreation

Hosting Sites

Illegal Drugs

Intimate Apparel and Swimwear

Intolerance and Hate

Kid Sites


Personals and Dating

Photo Searches

Phishing and Fraud

Proxies and Translators

Real Estate

Ringtones/ Mobile Phone Downloads

Sex Education


Spam Urls



Streaming Media

Tasteless and Offensive




Web-Based Email


We may unintentionally block categories which have a work-related use because some sites are listed in unexpected categories.  If you need any sites that might get blocked due to the category being blocked, please contact the Personnel Director to justify its usage and the site can be unblocked upon approval. Please do not contact me as I will just refer you to Personnel.

If they try to block the Bristol Blog, be sure to let me know!

Update: The internet may be off limits, but city workers can still access the Bristol Blog. Thank goodness.


Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

How is Klocko going to plan his next fishing trip ????

Anonymous said...

Their paid to work not surf the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve - it says CHAT - I am sure message boards fall under CHAT - so I am guessing your blog is blocked

Anonymous said...

This is a good thing. Maybe Personnel will find that productivity will go up.

Anonymous said...

Stortz did that when he was in office and Ward undid it.


Anonymous said...

10:30 you are killing me....

THEIR: This is THEIR house
THEY'RE: They're not working (they are)

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Wards boy's will still be able to get on the Blog

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting if Steve FOI'd the records for any one day to see who was doing what, including the mayor (maybe that is why it won't be done).

Anonymous said...

Oh I would love to see an FOI on the Mayor - you will see how many times a day he blogs on the site.

Plus his travel times.

Anonymous said...

FOI doesn't work that way. The FOI law does not give you access to information - it gives you access to documents, paper or electronic. There is no paper trail of internet use until someone creates it, and you can't demand City Hall do so. If Art tells the IT department to give him a report on employee internet use, you can demand a copy of that, but you can't make the IT department generate that report.

Anonymous said...

1:32 poster,
Stop picking on Ward. He's moving Bristol Forward, first giving the unions nice raises, then asking for them back. That way he puts a nice feel good show on for reelection.

Steve Collins said...

1:54 -- That's not correct. There is a record of each computer's use -- even I could figure it out -- and that record is available. But you might have to pay someone's time to get it. This isn't like asking for a photocopy of a report.
If someone wants to FOI the mayor's computer records, feel free. I'd be thrilled to see it. But I work for a paper that barely survived and there's no way we should shell out the money for that on a fishing expedition to see what, if anything, might be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the use of the websites was done.

Why not ask to SEE a copy of that?

It would be free, and MEANINGFUL!

Anonymous said...

Are those mass e-mail's for the whole city ????? If so it's public now......

Anonymous said...


What makes your Blog untouchable???

Anonymous said...

I'm less concerned about the mayor, who WE will have a say on, than I am on the other employees who we don't.

Steve Collins said...

2:38 -- The Bristol Blog is the penultimate internet destination. It cannot be trifled with.
Besides, if they cut off access to the Bristol Blog, I'll make a pretty solid First Amendment argument that will keep city lawyers busy for awhile.

Steve Collins said...

Personally, I think it's all a negotiating ploy by the mayor. He gives the internet back to employees if they make concessions that let him close the budget gap. It's the old tit-for-tat game.
PS: I'm only a little bit serious, for those who don't get such things.

Anonymous said...


Just one of many ploys now in play by Ward.

Too bad the people (who follow your blog, and also the Press) aren't more aware of them.
Some are quite serious.

And keep in mind that city employees have found other ways to go on line during the day.

Steve Collins said...

I'm sure many city employees have phones or laptops that can access the internet just fine without using the city's infrastructure. This policy is just going to encourage more of them to buy iPhones.
Nobody at city hall, by the way, believes the bandwidth thing is true. They seem to believe it's a power play by the personnel office. I have no idea whether they're right or not.

Concerned Citizen said...

Tell Chris Wright to Keep his promises.

Anonymous said...

Union works...UUUGGHHHH

Anonymous said...

It is the first step to getting management to be more aware of just what the employees are doing.

Unfortunately, some of the key violators are some of the managers, and only by doing this can the mayor start to control it.

Anonymous said...

Re: 11:46 AM

I must admit, that was funny.

Anonymous said...

This is a non-story.

Anonymous said...

This is really unfortunate many studies have proven employees are actually more productive with access to these services such as social networking, webmail, and surprisingly even youtube. However I can understand from bandwidth point of view that youtube might need to be restricted. I really have no problem though with the employees checking their webmail. No I am not a city employee, nor do I pretend to be one on TV.

awareness matters said...

be careful because this witch hunt could very easily come back and bite the accusers, republicans, in the as-.
make sure that your chicken coop doesn't have more than one cock overseeing the flock.

Anonymous said...


As if he wanted to.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

7:23 poster,

Said just like a union hack!

Anonymous said...

Blocking Sports and Porn ?????

I hope this policy doesn't invade the schools .

Anonymous said...


Management works for the mayor.

Nuff said!

Anonymous said...

Steve: If city hall workers think it's a power play by Diane, why don't you ask her? Ask her point blank where the initiative is coming from. If she says "I don't know" and she's lying, believe me, there are city councilmembers who would love to hold her accountable for lying to the public. Do your job, and they will then have the ammunition to do theirs. That's what having an independent news media is all about.

Anonymous said...

city employees work hard and deserve some recreation on the internet, this doesn't seem fair. if the city needs to save internet costs they should just close down the city's webpage, its ugly and doesn't do anything useful.

Steve Collins said...

I'll get around to asking the personnel director. Never fear.

Anonymous said...

Ward is just making her the heavy!

Anonymous said...

Did it really take 18 months for Art to figure this out?

Anonymous said...

I like Art and I think he's doing an okay job (of a job could be done by a trained monkey), but he doesn't have the intellect nor the vision to be the "heavy" on something complicated like this. It just ain't his style. It is, however, very much Diane's style. She's the source of 90% of the discontent in City Hall.

Anonymous said...

Go Fergy,

Every company has a heavy and it's usually the PD. If some City Hall workers are complaining because they have less internet sites to surf, so be it. That's part of her job.

I am not a big fan of my company's PD. Too bad, I will and have gotten over it and our company also has web sites blocked. Too many people think that when something occurs, it's only to them.

The same exists in the real world, too.

Anonymous said...

Now we start to see the union's animus towards Ferguson.
Guess she is doing her job if they aren't happy.

Anonymous said...

But we need more than a trained monkey.

Anonymous said...

If running the city could be done by a trained monkey, imagine how tiny the brain of an anonymous mayor-basher must be???

Anonymous said...

Diane is a strong woman - and can stand up to Art, which Art hates. Lets see what happens when Wardie Boy tires to appoint "his" people on the hiring boards. Kick his butt Diane - he needs it kicked back into shape.

proof said...

8:38 - so to avoid depression, it might be advisable that "you need not apply."

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Simply sounds like management is cracking down on over-paid, underworked city hall bums who're buggering-up the internet while at the same time wasting tax payer's money.

Good policy.

Concerned Conservative said...

Collins said:
"He gives the internet back to employees if they make concessions that let him close the budget gap. It's the old tit-for-tat game"

-Is that from the Cumberland Farms School of Business?
What a ridiculous scenario Collins. You're in outer space. Once again you prove the idea that the liberal media (in this case you) are infatuated with organized labor.

Anonymous said...

How many of you naysayers are at work while being cynical on this blog? Hypocrites !

Steve Collins said...

Concerned Conservative,
It's a joke. Boy, you're usually a lot more perceptive than that.

Anonymous said...

We all know that Collins is a Ward apologist and supporter.

Maybe because Artie keeps feeding him.

Call me silly said...

What ever happened to the days of going to work and working? No need for the city workers to be on Bristol Blog.

Anonymous said...

Yoo tawkin' to me? I wasn't bashing Art when I said the job could be done by a trained monkey, I was bashing the job. As for his intellect and vision: don't get mad, prove me wrong. What intellect has he ever shown by action or on paper? What vision has he ever displayed ("vision" as defined by Merriam-Webster as "the act or power of imagination")? There's nothing wrong with having average intelligence; we can't all be Rhodes Scholars like Bill Clinton or University of Chicago law professors like Barak Obama or....Yale graduates like Dubya Bush.

I stand ready to be corrected, but please spare us your tiresome insults.

Just Venting said...

Having worked for a company where I was required to report this information to my boss, it is a very easy report to print out. You can find out what websites, how long the where on specific sites and how often. What takes up all the bandwidth is playing the radio through the computer or downloading live video feeds.
Yes, the answer to these are buy a radio and watch TV when you get home.
Blocking these websites is a great idea "again" They should add more to them like banking and stock market sites. There is no reason for any employee in any business to be on the internet conducting private business on company time.
Numerous studies have proven that millions of dollars are wasted each year with these actions by employees.

Maybe the city can find some of the $4 million dollar gap in this waste of time. But don't stop looking there, continue on with wasted overtime and and horrible management practices.

Anonymous said...

Good luck trying to recruit the best and brightest to work for a city that treats its employees like middle school children. "No web surfing, keep your feet together and hands folded at all times, look straight ahead..." Some jobs, particularly professional ones, involve downtime. Managers are on salary, so they're being paid by the year, not by the hour. They don't get OT when thye have to work late into the night to finish the budget or attend hearings. And you all talk about "productivity going up..." last time I checked, municipal government doesn't make widgets. So define productivity, please.

Say what you will, but I know the only people who are going to apply to a city job to work for you bullies is someone who's desperate for work, i.e. someone with not a lot of talent. The draconian management mindset that works for spring factories and pizza hut doesn't apply to professional settings where people can demand a desirable workplace.

Just look at the city attorneys... they won't stick around to work for you grunts. So wave your pitchforks all you want, but next time you want someone to blame for City Hall being "full of idiots," just look in the mirror and you'll see the root cause.

Anonymous said...

1:10, this is why there should be a Chief Operations Officer. If you're telling me that running a multi-million dollar organization specializing in construction, education, social services, fire suppression, public safety, security, financial management, regulation, urban planning, engineering, recreation, wastewater treatment, public health, library management, facilities maintenance and building inspection can be done by a monkey, then I'd be real damn interested to hear what kind of animal we could use to replace you in your job. Frankly, I don't think that's the kind of job I want some unqualified politician doing... there should be a professional manager in place.

Anonymous said...

I said the mayor's job could be done by a trained monkey and I stand by that statement, because all the Bristol mayor has to do is say "I agree with you" to everything that the personnel Director, the Fire Chief, and Police Chief says. The Department Heads run City Hall. That is why we need a City Manager, because a city manager would not be led around by the nose by the personnel director. A city manager would not be afraid (terrified, actually) to meet informally one-on-one with union leaders.

Anonymous said...

But Ward has more experience than many city/Town Managers.
Doesn't 16 years count for anything?

Anonymous said...

I gather that the city is still functioning?