Citizen concern draws discussion from commissioners

Feb. 01, 2014 @ 03:32 PM

The Vance County commissioners and administration are looking into ways to further consolidate the county’s data centers.

“The consolidation of the data center has been something the technology committee has looked at in the past but, Mr. Bobbitt has brought that forward as an ongoing concern and suggestion,” said Jerry Ayscue, the county manager in reference to Vance County resident Michael Bobbitt.

Bobbitt said the county’s data center in the County Administration Building could be more appropriately located in the Vance County Schools Central Office building.

Ayscue said there are eight servers located in the County Administration Building. He said four servers have been eliminated in the past two years through virtualization and two more are anticipated to be virtualized this year.

He said the county recently purchased its first full cloud-based system at the Senior Center.

Ayscue said the size of servers is decreasing to the point that it could be possible to put them in the new courthouse facility, which he described as physically secure and accessible around the clock.

But Brian Short, county emergency operations director, said the new courthouse would be less than ideal.

“In order to have the servers away from our telephone and radio equipment, it would cost a tremendous amount of money to do that and have them continue to work the way we do now because the systems are integrated,” he said. “There would be some security concerns for me and accessibility concerns should something go down in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. How am I going to be able to get to it in a hurry?”

Short emphasized that the emergency operations centers have taken steps to consolidate.

“The county’s new phone system, for example, is already housed in my equipment room,” he said. “We have already, more or less, started transitioning towards a centralized data center in my department for a lot of our purposes.”

Commissioner Dan Brummitt suggested collaborating with nearby counties.

“One thing we looked at before and it just kind of fell apart was trying to have a relationship with another county in another geographical region that we would share back-up resources so we would not be paying some third party and try to minimize the costs,” Brummitt said.

The commissioners resolved to pass the issue along to the board’s technology committee and staff for future discussion.

Bobbitt also asked the commissioners to determine at the retreat ways to reduce the costs of annual financial audits from each volunteer fire department and the rescue squad as required by the board as a means of ensuring proper accountability of public funds. Volunteer fire departments receive funding from a special fire tax and the rescue squad annually receives general funds.

Bobbitt suggested using one accounting system with adequately designed internal controls, a formal segregation of duties, and proper reporting to reduce the eight audits to a single one.

The commissioners raised several ideas, including the consolidation of the volunteer fire departments into one fiscal entity, the implementation of an internal county audit and the standardization of audit procedures and software used by the volunteer fire departments and rescue squad.

There was also discussion about structuring a bid to local accounting firms that would be tasked with performing all the audits.

The public safety committee of the board was ultimately tasked with moving the conversation forward.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.