The Pulaski County Commissioners took steps to solidify the county’s IT services Monday. They voted to officially contract IT services out to DeGroot Technology, following the elimination of the county’s IT Department last month.
Commissioner Mike McClure suggested trying out the arrangement for a year. “If it works out and he’s more economical, we’ll keep contracting it out,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out, then, maybe, reopen and see what we can do for an IT in-house staff.”
Under the proposal approved Monday, the county would pay DeGroot $140 per hour for IT work done weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and $200 per hour after-hours, weekends, and holidays, according to information provided by the Auditor’s Office. DeGroot staff would be available for county work 16 hours per week, but the county would only get billed for the hours that are actually needed.
Also during Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Kenny Becker announced that Detective Sergeant Jason Woodruff would manage the county’s cell phones for the time-being. “He’s going to contact the offices, get everybody to get their phone number in and the right names on them because there are some that do not have the right names on them,” Becker explained. Officials have also discovered that the county has been paying more than $6,000 a year on cell phones that aren’t being used.
The commissioners also directed County Attorney Kevin Tankersley to draft a policy for new equipment purchases and decided that all equipment requests will be evaluated by Willie DeGroot, since he knows the system.
One question that remains is how IT will be funded without an IT Department. Commissioner McClure felt that each department should be responsible for its own IT costs, while county-wide issues could possibly be funded out of the commissioners’ budget. “It’s just too easy to call somebody when it’s not your money that’s going to pay for it, to at least look into it,” McClure said. “I know a couple times all it was, you had to wiggle the jack to get it to work, up in our old commissioners office. So to call DeGroot to wiggle the jack’s ridiculous there.”
There were some concerns about how to divide up the IT budget among the various departments, but Auditor Laura Wheeler said that would ultimately be up to the county council. It was noted that $600,000 is currently being requested for IT in the 2020 budget. The council is tentatively scheduled to discuss next year’s IT budget next Tuesday afternoon.