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Outrage over City Hall employees watching Olympics at work

July 31, 2012 |  6:44 pm

A city councilman has expressed concern amid reports that so many city workers are watching the Olympics that it is causing computer problems at City Hall.

 “City employees aren’t paid to watch the Olympics on their computers or TV. That is not what the taxpayers are paying them to do,” said Councilman Dennis Zine . ”The question is where are the supervisors when this is going on?”

In an email, the city's chief technology officer begged them to stop for fear of a municipal computer meltdown.

 “We are experiencing a high volume of traffic due to people watching the Olympics online. I respectfully request that you discontinue this as it is impacting city operations,” city tech guru Randi Levin wrote in an email sent to thousands of workers  Tuesday morning.

The email came on a day when the U.S. women's gymnastics team were competing, along with the women's soccer team.

Mark Wolf, executive officer for information technology for the city, said he had not discussed the email with Levin but said any time employees watch streaming material it takes up a tremendous amount of bandwidth.

NBC is streaming the games live online, which taxes highly-valuable bandwidth. That means computers that aren't being used for real work might be grinding at a snail's pace.

Asked about the city's struggling computer systems, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's press office referred calls to Levin, who did not return calls seeeking comment.


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--Richard Winton