Former Bristol asst. harbormaster answers questions about 'lost' records

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The Bristol Town Council may still move forward with an audit of the harbormaster's office, despite several of their questions regarding the harbormaster's computer being answered by Matt Calouro, former assistant harbormaster.

Last week, Mr. Calouro informed council members that the system used by the harbormaster's office to manage the database was called Onlinemooring.com. He further supplied the council with passwords and usernames, allowing them access to any and all information, he said.

This system of off-site data management was created a little over three years ago, Mr. Calouro said, with the approval of Diane Medeiros, former town administrator, who signed a contract with then-called Fuss and O'Neil.

"The system manages (hosts) the database, all of the mooring permits, dock permits, waiting lists, documents, communications, payments, financial reports," Mr. Calouro stated in an email. "The (town) administrator and (town) treasurer also had access to the system 24-7 if there was any questions about anything, and still do (have access)."

During the July 17 meeting of the town council, Gregg Marsili, Bristol's new harbormaster, turned over a department report — his first since taking the job June 26. The report, dated July 11, states that "the harbormaster computer was wiped of all documents." The discovery originated from a routine inspection of the computer by the town's information technology contractor, Information Systems Technology of Portsmouth, when Mr. Marsili first started.

According to Michele Spero, owner of the tech company and Bristol's technology manager, they "found no harbors data or documents on the computer's hard drive."

The reason, Mr. Calouro told council members Wednesday, was because of the harbormaster's set up with Onlinemooring.com.

"There were a number of reasons why we decided to use this system," he continued in an email. "It provides permit holders with better access to the harbormaster's office and transparency to the permitting process so applicants could see they were being treated fairly. Waiting lists are posted online and individuals can view them 24-7."

The community center also has issues with power surges and power outages, Mr. Calouro stated.

"We have lost several computers over the last 10 years and having the data stored somewhere else was the safer option," the email continued. "Another concern was flooding and water damage if there were to be a significant weather event…Administratively, we were having a problem with the MS Access software. With the old access database, only one person could do data entry at a time.

"The online mooring system is web-based. This allows for multiple users to do data entry or just reference the information."

Confusion still clouded town hall Monday, when Town Administrator Tony Teixeira said they were "unsure if there is anything missing at the moment and are looking into whether there was an off-site (storage) for the information."

Ms. Spero told town officials that "only a forensic audit could confirm whether or not any data/documents had previously been saved to the hard drive and then subsequently removed."

Council members briefly discussed conducting a forensic audit on the harbormaster's office during their meeting last week. Councilman Tim Sweeney suggested that perhaps an audit would be a "good thing now that (the town) is switching (harbormasters).

"It would be a natural time to find out what we have, what we need to do," he said. "It would be a good thing to move the audit forward."

Mr. Teixeira told the council he would have more information for them at the Aug. 7 meeting.

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