RAPID CITY, S.D. — Past dealings in a former position are causing controversy for Randolph’s new economic development coordinator.
Rapid City, S.D. Mayor Alan Hanks said he wants criminal charges brought against Michael Schumache, a former Rapid City alderman who used the mayor’s city e-mail address as the purported source of comments posted on a political Web site.
“He needs to be held accountable for his actions,’’ Hanks said of Schumacher, now a Yankton, S.D., resident and the economic development coordinator for Randolph.
The Black Hills Pioneer, in a copyright story last week, said Hanks complained to Pat Powers about comments posted at www.dakotawarcollege.com that were said to come from his office e-mail address.
Powers, who runs the Web site, said he traced the e-mails to Schumacher.
Schumacher said he used the fake address to point out to Powers that people could hide behind false names to make strong, often misleading comments, the Pioneer reported.
He said he used Hanks< city e-mail address because “it was just one that I knew.’’
The newspaper said Schumacher also acknowledged posting fake comments during his tenure on the Rapid City Council.
Schumacher said he will no longer blog under false names and that he was trying to reach Hanks to apologize.
“I’m trying to get Alan on the phone,’’ he said. “It was not done with malice.’’
Hanks said he was upset over misuse of his name.
“It almost seems like identity theft,’’ he said. “As an elected official, one thing I count on is people understanding my public positions. This isn’t the first time. I am quite upset. It certainly concerns me.’’
He said he has asked for legal advice to see if Schumacher violated state statute. If not, Hanks, a former legislator, said he would lead an effort in the 2009 legislative session to write a law making it illegal.