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Residents concerned over cyber threat from Mayor of Quincy

Posted at 4:09 AM, Jul 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-04 04:09:26-04

QUINCY, Fla. (WTXL) — Imagine hearing that your private emails could be tapped into by your city leaders.

That's what happened to neighbors in Quincy, at the last commission meeting.

Mayor Keith Dowdell said "make sure that it's secure cause it's not. I know how to go through the back door."

"To hear him get emotional like that and say that he could, would, or might look into our private emails that felt a little bit threatening from a person that sits in his position of power for the city," said Julie Baroody.

Julie Baroody is one of the neighbors, concerned, after they say, the Mayor of Quincy, Keith Dowdell, implied he could hack into their emails.

Julie feels there needs to be more trust between residents and city leaders.

"I think it made our mayor a little bit uncomfortable knowing there was email activity going on among the citizens, not necessarily things he was privy to and I think that prompted him to speak emotionally at the end of the meeting," said Baroody.

"With all these emails ya'll are sending you need to go back and check your server and make sure that it's secure cause it's not. I know how to go through the back door," said Mayor Dowdell during the meeting.

He's referring to a group of neighbors who have an email chain running talking about what's happening in the city and things they'd like to see change in city hall.

Quincy City Manager Jack McLean, who chose to speak on behalf of the city, says neighbors should not to worry and their emails are still private.

"I can tell them that that's not happening with assurance in terms of the city. I can also tell them that the mayor, it was a back and forth discussion, some of this was just hyperbole, the intensity of the moment," said McLean.

Despite the frustration both neighbors and city leaders are pushing for the same goal.

"I think every single person that goes to these meetings and every single person on the diose wants what's best for the city of Quincy," said said Baroody.

"Everybody is working for a common cause. Honesty, values of integrity and a place where you want to come and raise a family," said McLean.

And a good place to start is building trust.

McLean with the city of Quincy says he checked with I.T. Wednesday after we reached out to him.

He told WTXL there have been no improper entries in their server.