County board approves $530,000 request to replace software

Commissioners Tom Reilly, David Rushing and Bill Gratopp listen to a presentation Thursday at the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners meeting. (Tony Wittkowski | Times Herald)

Commissioners Tom Reilly, David Rushing and Bill Gratopp listen to a presentation Thursday at the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners meeting. (Tony Wittkowski | Times Herald)

By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald

St. Clair County employees will be getting upgraded computers within the next four months.

St. Clair County Information Technology Director Tiffany Fournier requested the board of commissioners approve a system update for about $530,000. Fournier said it is an effort to make the county computer system more secure.

In Thursday’s meeting, the board unanimously approved the request.

“I’m asking for final action because we are running into a number of compatibility issues,” Fournier said. “CLEMIS is not compatible with at least 25 computers at the sheriff’s department. This proposal is a scaled-down version of what I had pitched earlier.”

Fournier had originally requested a $600,000 upgrade in September.

Fournier said the county has about 400 computers that are out of date because they are running Microsoft Windows XP — software that is no longer supported by its provider.

The project will replace 450 to 480 PCs and will be funded through a combination of IT Public Improvement funds and Health Department Technology funds. Fournier said they have been testing the equipment since last summer and anticipate to have new equipment installed within four months.

“We refined the proposal to keep costs down and the proposal is well within the funds that have been set aside,” Fournier said. “What makes it a priority is last month we rolled out a change for our dispatching software that is no longer compatible.”

She said the county tries to replace PCs every five years.

County Administrator Bill Kauffman said employees who need upgrades the most are those who work in the health department and criminal justice system.

Board chairman Jeff Bohm said since the amount of county employees has been scaled back within the past five years, they have become more reliant on technology to handle the increased workload.

“Everything has a shelf life,” he said. “Technology is great, but it’s not that great when you need to replace it.”

Other items

Kirk Weston, St. Clair County Road Commission managing director, gave his annual road commission report, which included upcoming projects like the Fred Moore Highway road reconstruction and installing a roundabout at the Range-Griswold intersection.

Commissioner Tom Reilly told Weston the road commission has done a lot with the limited amount of resources they have.

“I have to tip my hat to the road commission,” he said. “With the shortage of revenue, you guys have done wonders.”

The Ways and Means Committee went into executive session afterward to discuss potential property acquisition. It was not made public what property was being considered.

Commissioner Karl Tomion was not present.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on April 2, 2015)

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