City employees failed to follow policies regarding public information requests that led to the release of Mayor-elect Hugh Hallman’s confidential tax records to his political opponent, an investigation has concluded.
As mayor, Hallman said he will work to protect the private information of Tempe residents and employees by installing more checks and balances.
“We need to have further discussions to ensure that the release of information is not subject to human judgment and error,” Hallman said.
The report, released Tuesday, made several recommendations to guard against future incidents, including offering more information about public records on the city’s Web site and more training for city employees.
Since more than one department was involved in handling the request for Hallman’s financial records by mayoral candidate and former Councilman Dennis Cahill, the report stated that the City Attorney’s Office should have been contacted.
Had the office been contacted, internal audit manager Ken Jones said the incident would have been avoided.
The report said the release violated city policy. However, City Attorney Marlene Pontrelli said her office was looking into whether any federal laws were broken.
The city could call for an independent inquiry if any laws were violated, said City Manager Will Manley.
Manley called for the investigation last month after Councilman Leonard Copple admitted that he supplied Cahill’s campaign with the tax records.
Copple said he requested Hallman’s financial information — but not his W-2 forms — from Tempe’s public information office. Copple also received copies of Hallman’s pay stubs, which contained bank account numbers.
Most of the information contained in the W-2 for an elected official, such as salary, is public information and must be provided in other forms upon request.