Allegheny County, Pa., Council members plan to study bids of about $30,000 from two computer companies offering to protect internal communications from other county offices.

Concern that the County Executive's Office snooped on council emails, calendars and documents prompted members to request a separate computer server that would be independent of other departments.

Allegheny County Police and Department of Computer Services inquiries found no evidence that council's communications were compromised. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's staff denied monitoring council communications and documents.

Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko, who raised security concerns, said sharing server space with the executive's office and other departments clouds council's ability to be a legislative check on Fitzgerald.

Council members and their staffs share a server with Fitzgerald's office, the Controller's Office, the Treasurer's Office and other departments. County courts, the District Attorney's Office and the Sheriff's Office are on separate servers.

“We need to be independent, and it enhances our security,” said Danko, D-Regent Square.

Other council members question the necessity for a server.

Vice President Nick Futules, D-Oakmont, said the administration addressed his concern and another server would waste money.

Councilman Michael Finnerty, D-Scott, said that if installing a server puts members at ease, it might be worth it.

Council staff declined to disclose the proposals or provide details about them. Walter Szymanski, director of budget and administration for council, said the bids were from local firms with experience in government servers.

Both proposals were about $30,000, Szymanski said.

©2014 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)