Macomb County clerk barred from using county computers after violating security protocols

Karen Spranger took office Jan. 1

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – The newly elected Macomb County clerk has been barred from using county computers after officials said she violated information technology security protocols.

Macomb County attorney John Schapka said last week that Karen Spranger allowed two non-county employees access to her computer, which has confidential information on it.

Spranger took office on Jan. 1, and just a couple of weeks later, her access to her computer has been completely revoked.

Schapka said Spranger can't log onto her computer or access files.

The incident began because of a debate over Michigan statutes, which allow Spranger to appoint her own clerks. She had already appointed two clerks -- the number Macomb County has regularly had -- but Schapka said Spranger wanted to appoint more people, saying it's her right under those statutes.

Spranger swore in two more associates last week to work as office employees, but just because they were sworn in didn't mean the county had money in the budget to hire them, so their positions were declared illegitimate. That made giving them access to computer files a violation.

Local 4 reached out to Spranger multiple times for comment, but she didn't reply.

The employee said she will call Local 4 as soon as she's cleared.

Spranger's computer ban isn't permanent, but more of a suspension until Macomb County officials can make sure the situation doesn't happen again.

Spranger offered this statement: 

Let it be known that the county computer access was denied  on January 11, 2017 without any prior notification to my Offices.  I await the detailed documented incident report from the Office of County Executive departments to fully address any policy violations.  I acknowledge receipt of the hand delivered letter of January 13th  which outlines steps to fully empower my newly sworn deputies ( Public Act 18 of 1921 MCL 50.131 ) by meeting with Finance and Human Resources. This shall include a detailed reorganization chart which identifies and fulfills many customer service improvements.  I am addressing both my statutory and constitutional mandates with an extremely dedicated staff and look forward to a return of full access rights to openly correspond using our advanced technologies. These protocols and policies need to be clearly outlined for a better understanding of expectations for all those working  diligently on behalf of the taxpayers of Macomb County.

About the Authors:

Koco joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016. She was born and raised in Metro Detroit, attended Central Michigan University, and previously worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.