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Greanias’ suspension

I’m as shocked by this as you are.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s efforts to rebuild public confidence suffered a setback Thursday with the announcement that President and CEO George Greanias, the public face of the “new Metro,” has been suspended for visiting sexually explicit websites using the agency’s Internet access.

Some observers said Greanias, who has led Metro since last September, has been so good for the agency that the embarrassing bombshell should not prevent his continued leadership. Others said the damage to his reputation and Metro’s will be too great for him to continue effectively.

Metro suspended Greanias for one week without pay effective immediately, a punishment that Chairman Gilbert Garcia said was harsher than typically would be assessed for a violation of Metro’s electronic communications policies. The suspension will cost Greanias about $4,500, Garcia said.

An investigation revealed that while on his personal computer at Metro headquarters, 1900 Main St., Greanias visited more than a dozen “adult-oriented sites of a sexual nature” using wireless Internet access provided by the agency, Metro said in a news release.

I’m going to guess that since he was on his personal laptop, Greanias didn’t realize that where he was surfing would be visible on the corporate network. You may scoff at that, but after 20 years in the IT business, I’ve learned to never underestimate people’s ability to not know how their computers work. Having said that, one would think that keeping the naughty stuff out of the office regardless would be common sense.

I feel terrible about this for George Greanias and for Metro. Greanias has done an outstanding job as Metro CEO, and has done more to rehabilitate that agency’s image than any ten people. I’ve had the chance to meet him a few times since he took over, and I’ve been very impressed by him, not just as a CEO but as a person. I hope, I really do, that people will chalk this up as a personal mistake that won’t affect his ability to keep doing great work as Metro CEO. David Vitter is still a Senator. Hugh Grant is still a movie star. It would be a tragedy if his talents were to be discarded. The good news there is that so far this seems to be everything. Metro did some more checking and found that he didn’t violate email policies, so that should help him. If this is all there is – if there are no further revelations of wrongdoing, or announcements that what had been previously declared to be true about who did what actually isn’t true, then I think this story will die from lack of oxygen, I hope that’s what happens. Robert Miller, who thinks Greanias will survive this incident, and Marc Campos, who doesn’t, have more.

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12 Comments

  1. paul kubosh says:

    I don’t use metro so maybe that is why I am not aware of what he has done that makes him a superman. That being said I don’t think he should be fired either for looking at adult porn. If it was more then that would be different.

  2. Annoyed says:

    Kuff, why are you apologizing for George Grenias? Why is anyone? The man was shopping for hookers on a city computer. Everyone is apologizing for George but we are going to burn Jolanda Jones at the stake for a 3-page fax? This is ridiculous.

  3. Annoyed, if you had read the story you would have learned that he was on his own laptop, not a city (or Metro) computer. Your assertion of what he was doing is at best highly speculative. You believe that CM Jones is being treated unfairly, so you’d like the same thing to happen to Greanias?

  4. Ross says:

    There are a few questions raised here. First, there’s the question of Greanias’ judgement. Surfing porn at work shows a huge lack of judgement, and brings into question the ability to make proper decisions.

    I am not at all happy with the Metro IT department. Assuming this was a corporate network intended for employee use, and not a wireless network open to the public, where is the Websense (or similar) subscription? If porn sites are open for viewing, then I have to assume that Metro employees have free reign to surf porn, gamble, and play games, none of which is related to work.

    I am also concerned about the ability of a “foreign” PC to connect to the Metro network. That’s the fastest way I know of to introduce viruses and malware and spread them throughout the organization.

    We really need some more information on Metro’s IT policies, and how their networks are controlled.

  5. Ross, at my office we have a WiFi network that is specifically for use by visitors. They can’t use a corporate PC, and they often need to connect to their own network, so they get a day pass for our WiFi network. As they cannot connect to our internal network, and as there is still a proxy server between them and the Net, malware is not an issue. That Metro has its own WiFi, which as I understand still required some kind of password to connect to, doesn’t raise any red flags for me.

  6. John says:

    Kuff

    come on the comment “what he was doing is at best highly speculative” I looked at the websites on hairballs it is pretty clear what he was doing and what he was trying to purchase.

    Regardless of how well he has done at Metro not sure how the president of that group can look for sex for sale at the office and not get fired. I agree the Jolanda Jones (as much as I dislike her) issue should not be prosecuted if Grenias gets off (no pun intended)

  7. paul kubosh says:

    Is there a list somewhere of the cites he looked at?

  8. Jules says:

    Whether or not he knew that IT could see what he was surfing, looking at porn at work is creepy. I assume he was physically at work since he was on the METRO wifi. Even looking at a Playboy magazine (or Playgirl if that even exists anymore) in your office at lunch with the door shut is creepy. Especially if you are the boss. Creepy and just plain dumb.

  9. joshua bullard says:

    In my best lawyerism verbage that i know to use,i was shocked,emotionally overtaken with the current events that took place pertaining to mr grenias.

    at a loss for words
    joshua bullard

  10. Ross says:

    As it turns out, Metro DOES use Websense, but managed to configure it incorrectly while attempting to allow employee access to facebook and twitter (side question, what’s the business reason for allowing unfettered access to either of those sites for all employees?). There’s a copy of the Metro report on Michael Berry’s (cue evil music here) website http://www.ktrh.com/pages/michaelberry.html?article=8895334

  11. Quikboy says:

    I too believe Grenias has helped turn Metro around a bit, but his actions are appalling and his position as a CEO is to lead. Any employee under him would probably have been fired. Well at least in the private world.

    At the least, I think he should receive no bonuses for the next 5 years, maybe a 10-20% paycut, amongst other administrative punishments. One week, with no pay doesn’t seem enough.