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No Evidence of Identity Theft in Birmingham Hack, Official Says

Compelled to use manual processes and paper timesheets after a cyber incident discovered in March, the Alabama city has paid most employees on time, Mayor Randall Woodfin told staff. The issue of late paychecks is being addressed, he added.

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(TNS) — Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin met with city employees Wednesday to discuss the computer hack that continues to wreak havoc on operations as the workers raised concerns about pay, security of their personal information and what happens next.

Most of Birmingham’s 4,000 employees have been paid on time and accurately, Woodfin told the city’s workforce, while noting that issues of late paychecks, underpayment and a few overpayments are being addressed.

During a 40-minute town hall, Woodfin and the city’s department heads answered questions that employees sent in by phone, text, and email. obtained an audio recording of the meeting.

“If you have concerns, if you have issues, if you have questions, a process has been provided for you to talk directly to us. You have other outlets, but they are not going to get you the answers that you need,” Woodfin said.

Officials did not give an indication of when the computer issue might be resolved.

Kevin Moore, the city’s finance director, said his department is working to provide pay stubs and income verification for mortgages and other issues employees face.

“We are currently working to assist all those who have these types of concerns,” he said. “I personally talked to a mortgage company today to make sure we were providing that type of assistance.”

Cedrick Sparks, Woodfin’s chief of staff, urged employees against spreading rumors related to the network disruption.

“The villains are the folks who used their expertise to harm us,” he said. “Let’s band together as an employee base.”

City leaders took a drubbing, as some employees criticized Woodfin’s slow communication about the computer crisis and what it meant to them.

“We have not been able to share all the information that you may want,” Woodfin said. “There are some things that we simply do not know yet. Some of the information is part of the investigation. We will provide updated information to you once we have information to share.”

Woodfin said the problems began on March 6 when they observed unexpected activity that disrupted operations of some computer systems. The city, after weeks of near silence, confirmed on April 3 that computer systems were hacked nearly a month earlier.

Woodfin during a call promised that the city would provide information as it learns more.

He did not address concerns from police that the ongoing cyber attack had affected public safety.

Last week, the Birmingham Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to Woodfin, saying that the computer hack has caused some problems for law enforcement, as officers face limitations in checking to see if vehicles have been reported stolen or if someone has outstanding warrants.

“Significant concerns have been presented to the Fraternal Order of Police regarding the City of Birmingham’s lack of transparency in the handling of the recent cyber attack against the city,’’ Officer Deangelo Hall, president of the state’s largest FOP wrote in the letter obtained by “The lack of information from leadership has led to feelings of uncertainty and disregard among city employees and citizens.”

City officials have stressed that the 911 system has not been affected and that emergency operations remain functional.

Sparks during the call today defended the administration’s approach to communicating with staff. He said the city is working with a “third-party specialist” in investigating and solving the problem.

“They advised the city of Birmingham on the steps that we can and should take,” Sparks said. “We are relying on the expertise of our third-party specialists who do this every day. Know that the mayor’s desire is to be as transparent as possible, however we are in uncharted territory as a city.”

In response to multiple questions from workers, Sparks told employees that the city has found no evidence of identity theft related to the hack.

“To date, the city of Birmingham is not aware of any cases of identity theft or fraud related to the network disruption at this time. The investigation is still ongoing,” Sparks said. “If we have any evidence that reflects that, we will absolutely let you know.”

Several employee questions detailed concerns about pay, benefits and income verification. Since the hack, employees have been filling out paper time sheets and say they have not been receiving pay stubs.

Hall, the FOP president, in the letter last week said there were several complaints by employees that they are not being fully compensated or, in some cases, not being paid at all.

Moore, the city’s finance director, said his department is working to provide pay stubs in the future and to cover paychecks issues since the outage began last month.

Rick Journey, the mayor’s communications director, released a statement to when contacted about the meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“The city is committed to providing employees with updates and fact-based information to address their questions,” the statement said.’s Carol Robinson contributed to this report.

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