County officials discuss computer woes with board
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Computer problems continue to hamper the operations in county offices, county department heads told the Henry County Board of Supervisors Thursday.
The problems with computer hardware and software have been an on-going problem as county officials have expressed their frustrations to the supervisors for several years.
County Attorney Darin Stater said the problems have become very frustrating. “I have to have access to do my job. I feel that a lot of time it is like I am banging my head against the wall. I am also getting yelled at by judges.”
Shirley Wanderling, county recorder, said they are broaching the subject again “because we care. We need to do something…This has been going on for years. Is this important to you three (supervisors)? If it is, why can’t we get something started?”
“I can’t get into the system (some of the time),” added Joe Buffington, county director of planning and zoning. The underlying problem is it isn’t getting resolved. I’m willing to work through protocol, but it has to function.”
Marc Lindeen, supervisor vice chairman, said the complaints caught him by surprise. “I thought things were going better and now I hear they aren’t.”
Supervisor Greg Moeller said he was “confused about the depth of the (IT) audit you want us to do. It’s not 100-percent foolproof. It never will be.”
The county’s IT employee is Derek Wellington. Solutions for Computer Service, an Iowa firm, has long been the county’s contract holder for software applications, IBM platform software and support services. Solutions provides similar support to 45 Iowa counties.
Representatives from Solutions met with supervisors in late August to review the services they provide. At that time, the company advised the supervisors to appoint “point people” to contact them when problems surfaced. Wellington and Henry County Auditor Shelly Barber were chosen as the only county officials that would contact Solutions when problems arose.
Thursday was also department head report day. Barber said 3,810 county residents either had voted early or requested absentee ballots as of 9 a.m. Thursday.
“On Monday, we had 120 people in the office to vote,” she noted. The auditor’s office will be open Saturday, Nov. 5, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for early voting. In addition the office will be open until 5 p.m. both today (Friday) and Monday. Monday is the last day citizens can vote early in person.
John Pullis, county conservation director, said his department is trying to give some help to drivers this year. “Last year, we had five or six deer accidents (near Oakland Mills), so this year we pushed back the brush in several areas which should help (in preventing accidents).”
Everything has been “moth-balled” for the winter around Oakland Mills, he continued. “We had the campground open two weeks longer and had a good reception.”
Pullis also said that the term of Jim Onorato, conservation board member, will expire at the end of the year and have to be filled as Onorato has served two terms and cannot be reappointed for at least one year.
Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee said the jail project is coming along nicely with a campaign committee being selected to “sell” the project. Jail population Nov. 2 was 24 inmates, he said. Thus far, the sheriff’s office has received 19,500 calls, which is slightly above normal, he remarked. Finally, he said he is in the process of hiring a dispatcher and a deputy.
Some 74 building permits have been issued this year, Buffington said, which compares to 62 in all of last year. He said of those 62 permits, 23 were for new houses. In 2015, permits were issued for 15 new houses.
Sarah Berndt, county general assistance director/coordinator of disability services and also the head of the jail diversion program, reported that Keokuk County has been added to the program, increasing the number of counties in the program to six.
Supervisors will meet again in regular session Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 9 a.m., in the Henry County Courthouse.