Virginia Beach city workers caught cyberslacking

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by David Alan, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 9:27 AM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Everyone knows a cyberslacker- someone who spends too much time at work surfing the internet or checking their facebook page.  But when city workers do it, it’s on your dime.

13News Now asked the City of Virginia Beach to provide a list of internet websites visited by city employees at work.  The list included the online dating website okcupid.com.  The site is hardly city business. Singles post pictures on the dating site and create profiles. Visitors can also take a "sexual purity test" or "explore in which world their inner fantasies lie."

Our 13News Now investigation discovered more than 1,500 hits on okcupid.com by Virginia Beach city workers in just one week.  One worker spent more than 20 minutes on the site. 

”I don’t think that’s a very good way to use your time when you are at work,” one concerned citizen told 13News Now.

The city's list also included other dating sites like TheDatingDivas.com, EliteGlobalDating.com, JamaicanDating.com, BlackPeopleMeet.com, and Marry-an-Ugly-Millionaire-online. We also found tons of social media sites including Facebook and Twitter, as well as shopping sites and more than 700 YouTube videos.

According to the city, some intermittent use of the internet is allowed, as long as productivity doesn’t suffer.   They said very few of the more than 40,000 social media websites visited in just one  week represent an inappropriate use of a worker’s time.

"The internet is a finite asset. We pay dollars for the internet. We want to make sure the bandwidth is being used for city business,” Ernie Forni, the city’s head of IT, told 13News Now.

It's hard to imagine all of the shopping sites found on the city's list of URL's - from Nordstrom and Dillard's to SexyDresses.com and VenusSwimwear - are city business.

We also found city workers looking to liven their workday with games like Farmville and Words with Friends.

City Manager Jim Spore refused to talk to 13News Now about the use of the internet by city workers but Mayor Will Sessoms told us he was shocked and disappointed by what we found.

“I would ask city workers not to do that. I don’t think it’s a proper use of city property, or their time,” Sessoms said. 

The city says they were unaware workers were on the dating website okcupid.com. While the city says it blocks sites with adult content we found plenty of racy stuff on the site, like the "penis personality preference test."

“Probably not something the city should be going on,” City Council Bill DeSteph said.  

As a result of our investigation, the city tells 13News Now dating sites are now off-limits to most city employees.

As for spot checks to find cyberslackers, 13News Now was told that has to be weighed against the man-hours it takes.   However, It took us only a few minutes to find a wide-range of websites from fantasy football to romantic fantasies.

The city’s IT Department provided 13News Now the following list of internet URL’s in response to our request for websites visited by Virginia Beach city workers during an eight-day period in July 2013.   The hits are ‘unique’ hits and do not represent the number of ‘visits.’ The YouTube URL’s are not complete addresses.

Click here for list of Social Media sites visited by Virginia Beach city workers



 

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