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After City Mistakenly Releases Unredacted Petition, Clerk Offers To Cover Identity Theft Monitoring

Laura Kraegel

The City of Unalaska could be on the hook for nearly $6,000 after unredacted copies of the mayoral recall petition were posted on Facebook.

The city clerk has apologized to community members who had parts of their social security numbers released.

Once a recall petition is certified by the city clerk, it becomes part of public record and anyone can request to see it.

On Dec. 27, the petition against Mayor Frank Kelty went public, after KUCB and other parties requested copies.

A week later, City Clerk Marjie Veeder realized she had mistakenly released an unredacted version, including the last four digits of social security numbers for 75 people who signed the petition.

“I apologize that non-redacted copies of the petition were in people’s hands,” she said.

Veeder said she noticed her mistake only when the clerk's department was notified that a community member had posted the petition online. She sent an apology letter on Jan. 11 to everyone affected.

Veeder said it’s only a legal liability if all digits in a social security number are released. But on the advice of the city attorney, she decided to cover the cost of identity theft monitoring for the 75 people.

“We wanted to do the right thing,” she said. “That’s why we made that offer. It’s not that we were legally required to do so. We just wanted to do the right thing.”

If all 75 people take the city up on its offer, Unalaska will have to shell out $5,827.50. Veeder said the money will come out of the clerk’s budget.

Community members have until June 30 to apply for reimbursement.

This was the final story in our four-part series on Unalaska’s upcoming recall election. You can find the others here: part one, part two, and part three

Zoë Sobel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2019. She returned to KUCB after a year living in Nepal and Malaysia as a Luce Scholar. She then returned to KUCB as a ProPublica reporter August of 2020 through August of 2021.
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