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Information on fuel logger declared ‘inconclusive’

By Staff | Aug 22, 2011

Information on the fuel logger device that was discovered in the trunk of a city vehicle was found to be inconclusive, according to the city’s fuel management software provider, SCI.

The Clearwater, Fla., based company examined the device and found data to be “partial” and “fragmented.”

“The data corruption can be due to (a) number of reasons, not known to us at the time of examining the devices,” wrote SCI General Manager Tal Ezra.

The device was found several weeks ago and turned over to the city manager’s office, Councilmember Bill Deile and then the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, who searched for fingerprints both inside and outside of the device.

The device was proclaimed to be the “smoking gun” in an ongoing controversy surrounding the city’s fuel use and rehabilitation of its fuel procedures, software and hardware.

The LCSO found partial fingerprints on the device last week but did not conduct a criminal investigation.

SCI has been conducting an investigation pertaining to the information recorded on the device, discovering “numerous” bypass fuel transactions without identifying the user. They were no records of fuel types, so SCI was unable to determine a specific station or locations where the device was used, according to Ezra’s letter.

“There was enough information to recognize that the fuel logger may have been in use. However, the design of data capture through this device did not require registration of a year,” Ezra wrote.

City Manager Gary King said he had no reaction to results of SCI’s investigation into the contents of the fuel logger device.

“I just want to move ahead,” King said.

The city is currently spending $45,000 to SCI to have it upgrade both the city’s software and hardware pertaining to the fuel management system. King said that upgrade is almost finished. The new system will include wireless technology that will be used to transfer data.

“Our new installation is almost complete. All the nagging questions will be answered and be put behind us,” King added.

The device had the ability to bypass the city’s fuel system – which includes a combination of fuel rings and PIN numbers – but one council member said it was used in that function during emergencies to fuel vehicles that didn’t belong to the city during natural disaster like Hurricane Charley.

Councilmember Marty McClain said he isn’t surprised by the results.

“It isn’t a smoking gun,” McClain said. “I’m not surprised there wasn’t information that could identify there was missing fuel.”

City Spokeswoman Connie Barron said she did not know what SCI would charge the city, if anything, for examining the device.

King said if SCI did send the city an invoice for the work pertaining to the device, the amount would be “minimal.”