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IT’s time for county upgrade in technology
by Jason Collins
Mar 12, 2013 | 1687 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – County commissioners hope to hire someone soon that can take the county from the technology of the ’90s to the 21st century.

During Tuesday’s meeting, they agreed to post ads and start the search for a new information technology director to oversee the upgrades they hope to make to the county’s technology infrastructure.

“We hired somebody that didn’t work out,” said Gary Gillett, a member of the county’s IT committee. “The issue is we need somebody overseeing and directing these projects and that is their job and their specialty.”

County Tax Assessor-Collector Linda Bridge said that the committee, of which she is a member, has developed a job description for the county and even offered a proposed salary.

According to the job posting, the position will pay a salary of $45,000 plus benefits, which for Bee County includes the person’s birthday as a paid day off.

“This is not the highest salary for a nonelected official,” he said.

The highest paid position for a nonelected official is that of the road and bridge administrator, which pays $46,000, Bridge said.

“For the knowledge, expertise, skills and certificates that are required for this job, this is really low. We can hope and pray that folks come up and apply for it.”

When it comes to requirements, the county would prefer that the person have a CompTIA Network+ or Cisco Certified Network Associate certificate. Basically, this just certifies that the person is highly qualified in the field of computer networking.

The duties are everything from being the person who manages the county’s website to keeping the computer infrastructure running smoothly.

In light of recent events, the person would also be responsible for keeping the soon-to-be-installed phone system working properly.

During the past weeks, a serious issue arose that highlighted the county’s outdated hardware when it was discovered that crossed telephone lines were allowing third-parties to hear telephone conversations.

“It is outdated to say the least,” Commissioner Dennis DeWitt told the court last Monday, Feb. 25.

Very little has been done to the system since it was installed, and age has taken its toll.

“If you can go back 10 years and think of the cell phone you were using then, that is where we are now,” DeWitt said as a way to illustrate their situation.

DeWitt said that he was told by County Clerk Mirella Escamilla Davis that she once picked up her phone and realized she was listening to his private conversation.

During a court meeting on Feb. 25, DeWitt was authorized to start seeking bids for a solution.

However, they switched gears on Tuesday and decided to wait until a fiber optic line could be installed, or rerouted, to the Justice Building.

“That is the very first step,” Bridge told the court. “Once those lines go in and are installed, the phone system won’t cost as much.”

Thing is, the court approved installing the line back in November, but the company hasn’t done the work.

“The one day they picked to move the line, it rained. What are the chances of that?” Silva said. “Since then, it hasn’t rained. So I don’t know what the holdup is.”

Part of the problem is coordination, and those who are trying to get this coordinated within the county are doing so along with their regular jobs.

Gillett said, “Y’all have your own jobs to do. We had hired somebody, but now we don’t have anybody.”

Commissioners agreed that the new director would also be able to help them keep up with the current technology.

Silva, glancing at the number of iPhones on the table, said, “Just look at your phones. That is just you here right now. You have to keep up with technology, especially in a business like this.”

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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