Pulaski County Council Votes Down Proposal to Reestablish IT Department

Pulaski County Council: back row: Mike Tiede, Kathi Thompson, Brian Young; front row: Scott Hinkle, Rudy DeSabatine, Jay Sullivan (not pictured: Ken Boswell)

A motion to “reboot” Pulaski County’s IT Department failed during this week’s county council meeting. The county commissioners disbanded the IT Department back in July and later agreed to once again contract IT services out to DeGroot Technology. But that arrangement has drawn concern from some council members and IT professionals, specifically when it comes to cybersecurity and larger oversight of the county’s technology systems.

During Monday’s special council meeting, Council Member Brian Young said that based on his understanding of Indiana Code, the council has the authority to create departments. “‘The legislative body may establish, by ordinance, new county departments whenever necessary to promote efficient county government,’” he read. “We can create an IT Department.”

However, Young’s motion was voted down. Council member Scott Hinkle felt that they needed to give the arrangement set up by the commissioners a chance, before reestablishing an IT Department. “I think we need to set the IT budget at what it would cost to hire a person, and that’s all they get for consulting,” Hinkle said. “And we’ll kind of go, give the consulting a try, and if it isn’t working out, then I think we need to create one, too.”

As the 2020 budget proposal currently stands, $83,000 would be available for an IT consultant. Council Member Kathi Thompson said that would cover 11 hours of IT help per week, but she thought that amount could also get the county a full-time IT director, including the cost of benefits.

The discussion came on the same night that the council voted to eliminate funding for the county’s Microfilm Department. A proposal to merge Microfilm into the IT Department was approved by the county commissioners back in 2016, only to be rescinded when new commissioners took office a few weeks later.