School fires IT manager who warned of security breach

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by Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 23 at 9:24 AM

TEMPE, Ariz.--- An IT manager who claims he warned Maricopa Community Colleges officials of a potential data breach has lost his job.

Miguel Corzo, who worked for the college for three decades, calls himself a whistleblower, who is now being used as a scapegoat.

"I went above and beyond to save [the school] from this embarrassment," he told the school board Tuesday night.

In 2013, school officials revealed a data breach put 2.4 million students and staff members at risk for identity theft.

The FBI caught hackers trying to sell their Social Security numbers, banking information and academic records.

School officials waited several months before revealing the breach and warning those affected.

The board met behind closed doors, in executive session, to discuss firing Corzo on Tuesday.

He pleaded with them before their final public vote on his termination, claiming he was taking the fall for the school's negligence.

"We warned the organization not once, not twice, but over 12 times in 2012 alone. Now, the same employee who warned them is being thrown under the bus," Corzo said.

"I am shocked and ashamed of the behavior of the administration. I don't understand the need to make me a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb,'' he added.

Corzo said he was denied due process, and at least one board member agreed.

"I was willing to resign from this board because of this, rather than be guilty of association with the crap that's gone on here," Debra Pearson said.

Corzo asked for a chance to review the case against him and present his own case, but was denied.

The board voted 3-2 to fire Corzo.

On his way out, Corzo said his fight is not over. A wrongful termination lawsuit is likely.

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