UPDATE: HAROLD RESPONDS TO SCPR INQUIRY
SEE BELOW GRAPHIC
(PHOTO IN PUBLIC DOMAIN)
HAROLD RESPONSE TO SCPR QUESTIONS:
Martin Olson <firstname.lastname@example.org> 4/13/2015 7:17 AM
Martin Olson <email@example.com> 4/13/2015 7:17 AM
Could you fill me in on the complete background on your knowledge of and connection to Seth Peterson and the particulars of how you came to recruit him (his words, not mine - see video) to come to Stark County?
Alan Harold Today at 11:57 AM
To: Martin Olson
Hi Martin, thanks for the note.
Seth and I attended Mount Union College at the same time. We had stayed in touch through his various professional positions, notably when he was IT Director for Canton City Schools. We spoke first about his coming to work for the County two/three years ago when I was looking to hire an assistant director for the IT department. The timing wasn't right for him at the time and we moved on here at the County.
Last spring, recall we had a backroom incident at IT related to a power surge. As we analyzed our needs and the future direction of the department, I reached out to Seth about the possibility of him coming on board in the role he has now. I'm glad we were able to bring him on board as having two high caliber professionals (Seth & Anita) in the IT department allows us to have the best infrastructure, new collaborations across all government, and better solutions for all of our users.
Lastly, I don't know that it was covered in the meeting or in the video, but this is not all "new" money being invested into the Microsoft agreement. We have a similar agreement with Oracle right now for various systems licensing that will be, in large part, phased out as Microsoft comes on-line. While it will not be dollar-for-dollar savings, there will be a substantial reduction in other licensing expenses that will offset the costs of this new contract.
This is probably the most exciting time in the County IT department in at least a generation and I am so glad and so proud to have a great team in place to create and implement a better way to manage this critical asset of our local government.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions or if you need anything else.
Stark County Auditor
APPROVE APPROPRIATION OF
FOR STARK COUNTY TECHNOLOGY
STARK'S NEW IT CHIEF
TALKS SPECIFICS, MORE OR LESS
COUNTYWIDE TECHNOLOGY UPGRADE
TALK ABOUT THEIR ROLE
The SCPR is only kidding of course.
But there is little doubt that large parts of Stark County government and many Stark County political subdivisions are in the dark ages of technology.
One of the foremost advocates of updating the county's technology is Stark County Auditor Alan Harold.
Harold is kind of a "Luddite in reverse."
Yes, the original Luddites according to Wikipedia:
... were 19th-century English textile workers who protested newly developed labour-economizing technologies from 1811 to 1816. The stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the artisans with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work.
Recently, Harold (whose office handles information technology for Stark County government) hired a chief information technology person to smash (the SCPR's term not Harold's nor the technology chief) the antiquated information technology systems that are pervasive in offices across Stark county government.
At last Wednesday's regular 1:30 p.m. Stark County commissioners' meeting, newly hired (at $120,404 [now $122,404] Chief Information Technology Officer Seth Peterson (August, 2014) was present to address a resolution up for consideration by the commissioners, to wit:
At his rate of pay, Peterson is the third highest paid Stark County employee.
He says that he came out of the healthcare industry last employed in Atlanta, Georgia (see above) and that he was recruited by Harold to come to Stark County.
He is a graduate of Mount Union University.
Here is a video of the exchange between the commissioners and Peterson as he was present to justify the appropriation of nearly $1.3 million over the next six years.
And here is a SCPR computation of the projected cost of the upgrade.
The SCPR believes that "a conservative cost estimate" puts county general fund dollars outlay at about $2.1 million.
If one includes all the costs in implementing the upgrade, the SCPR thinks the upgrade "in reality" will end up much higher.
Note that The Report includes in the cost the projected base salary (not included pay increases over the next 6 years) of Mr. Peterson inasmuch as yours truly believes that the major share of his time will be devoted to the upgrade.
Also not included is the salary of other Auditor Department employees who most certainly will be involved in the upgrade process.
This is a cost in terms of being of the nature of an "opportunity cost" which is to say that to the degree Auditor Department IT employees are devoting time to the upgrade they will not be available to spend time on other departmental functions.
As Peterson stepped out of the meeting to return to work, the SCPR prevailed upon him (joined by Akron Beacon Journal reporter Nancy Molnar) to query him in more detail about the upgrade.
And in a Q&A part of the commissioners' meeting, the SCPR had this exchange with commissioners:
All-in-all the SCPR is pleased with Harold's action in playing the role of being a Luddite in reverse.
And it appears from Commissioner Creighton's description in the video above of the Data Board vetting process that Harold's plan has been gone over with "a fine toothed comb." But we will not know for sure until the returns begin to come in.
The Report will be watching the project as it goes forward and will from time-to-time be reporting to the Stark County public as to whether or not the expenditure of what most certainly be several millions of Stark County taxpayer general fund dollars turns out to be a case of our money being efficiently and effectively spent.
We know already that county officials have no choice but to bring the county technologically speaking into the 21st century.
The need to do so should cause all of us to reflect on the apparent failure of previous auditors and commissioners and other county officials to have kept pace on the county's technology needs and thereby have exacerbated the 2014 through 2020 costs of catching up.
Watching government officials and how they administer our local government is an unending task for all of us.