- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

WINONA, Minn. (AP) - Two candidates for Winona County auditor-treasurer are in hot water after they used their county email accounts for campaign activities, according to a Winona Daily News analysis of public records.

Sandra Suchla and Joyce Tlougan used their county email addresses to communicate about campaign-related topics like purchasing election materials and meeting with supporters, the Daily News (https://bit.ly/1tToiNp ) reported. Both women are current county employees. Suchla works in the finance department and Tlougan works in the planning and environmental services department.

County email is a resource funded by tax dollars. An investigation will be launched to determine whether they violated the county’s personnel policy and if discipline is required, according to interim county administrator and personnel director Maureen Holte.

Both women apologized for their actions Wednesday and vowed to change their behavior.

Suchla acknowledged that she made a “foolish mistake” by using her county email for something that’s unrelated to her current position.

“I need to make some changes and I’m well aware of that,” she said. “I do need to stop and think and say, don’t send that email.”

Tlougan says she plans to use herself as an example if she is elected to the auditor-treasurer position.

“I would take ownership,” Tlougan said. “Even if you’re in a hurry … we have to remember (campaign emails) have to be done off county time.”

Both women said they would encourage other county employees to avoid making the same mistake.

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Information from: Winona Daily News, https://www.winonadailynews.com

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