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County officials surf Internet during public meetings

Garrett Therolf and Matthew Waite of St. Petersburg Times used Internet records to show that three Pasco commissioners visited numerous Web sites during commission meetings over the past three years. The investigation found personal use of county computers has gotten rank-and-file county employees fired. "Like many other workplaces, the county uses software to track employees suspected of misusing their computers, and has fired people for it." The investigation also found that in Pasco, rules that prohibit county employees from misusing the Web do not apply to the commissioners. No state law regulates county commissioners' Web use; if there were, public officials could be punished for using the Web with "wrongful intent."

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