The mayor of San Francisco has obtained the password to the city's multimillion-dollar computer network password from a disgruntled employee during a secret jailhouse visit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
On Monday night, Mayor Gavin Newsom met Terry Childs, a Department of Telecommunications and Information Services employee charged with computer tampering, in a secret meeting and walked away with the password to the city's new FiberWAN (Wide Area Network), the Chronicle said.
The system stores such records as officials' e-mails, city payroll files, confidential law enforcement documents and jail bookings.
Childs has been held since July 13 and had reportedly refused to give officials the password to the multimillion-dollar system. Officials said Childs had been disciplined for poor performance in recent months and that higher-ups wanted him fired.
Childs' lawyer Erin Crane said in court documents that Childs was withholding the password to protect the system from "malicious" damage, the Chronicle said.
"Mr. Childs had good reason to be protective of the password," Crane said. "His co-workers and supervisors had in the past maliciously damaged the system themselves, hindered his ability to maintain it ... and shown complete indifference to maintaining it themselves.
"He was the only person in that department capable of running that system," Crane said in the document. "There have been no established policies in place to even dictate who would be the appropriate person to hand over the password to."
Newsom's spokesman, Nathan Ballard, told the Chronicle that the mayor figured the secret Monday meeting "was worth a shot, because although Childs is not a Boy Scout, he's not Al Capone either."