Mayor: Problems with several Pittsburgh departments’ computer systems unveil deeper issue

Computer issues at City-county Building are indicative of a bigger problem, Peduto says

PITTSBURGH — Emails obtained by Target 11’s Rick Earle reveal an unauthorized device may have locked up computers in several departments in the city of Pittsburgh, including public safety.

At least two days last week, workers at the city-county building downtown had problems logging onto their computers. Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday that it is a sign of bigger problems.

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The issues began on Feb. 27, according to internal emails obtained by Target 11. Sources said employees had trouble logging onto the network, connections were slow and printers wouldn’t work.

Problems surfaced again Monday. An email that day from the director of innovation and performance said the following:

“Our information indicates that this issue might be generated by an unauthorized device connected to the network...I want to remind you that it is against city policy to connect devices or alter the configuration of existing devices..."

The email described network issues on six floors at the building, including parks and recreation, public safety and finance, but Peduto said there is an even bigger issue.

“We have an antiquated network. We don't have enough capacity to do everything we'd like to do. So, when we add more cameras and equipment, it's taxing an already broken system,” he said.

The city is now working on a long-term plan to upgrade the entire network, according to Peduto, with plans to spend $3 million over the next two years on new computers and software.

The current issues are the result of years of neglect, Peduto said, and the new upgrades will allow for expansion of items to the network – such as more surveillance cameras. The issues have only been temporary - according to Peduto - and they’ve been able to find solutions quickly. He also told Channel 11 the city hasn’t experienced any emergencies.

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