MADISON — It looks as though Madison County again will have an information and technology person capable of everything from helping employees replace malfunctioning keyboards to writing computer programs.
Following an informal interview with Dan Spray of Precision IT of Norfolk on Tuesday, the Madison County board of commissioners voted to hire Precision IT for a year, with the contract to be renegotiated next spring or before the next fiscal year budget gets put together.
The county had set aside funds for the position in the budget, along with three months of training from Dick Day, the county’s former information and technology specialist who has been seeking to retire.
The commissioners did advertise for the position and decided it would be best to hire a company after considering options.
Troy Uhlir, Madison County board chairman, said when a county or company hires one individual, they get one specific way of programming.
That can be a problem if the person leaves in a year or two, so the county visited with Spray of Precision IT, which responded to the advertisement.
“I couldn’t agree more that having a team do programming is better than an individual,” Spray said.
The company will provide support for all the county offices, including the sheriff’s office. That includes having a person on site at the courthouse three days a week, Spray said.
The county already had a contract to have someone from the company one day a week at the courthouse, usually Wednesdays. With this contract, the county will have someone from the company on site now four days a week. More than likely, it will be Monday to Thursday.
The vote to approve the contract goes from Oct. 1 to June 30, 2021, and was approved 3-0. The contract will be pro-rated from the salary.
Uhlir said he would be willing to meet with Spray ahead of the budget deliberations next summer to come up with a new contract. After that, hopefully it can be included annually with the budget, he said.
The county will furnish an office, with problems and ideas all coming from employees through a ticket system. After several months, the ticket system can be evaluated to see what works and if anything is needed, Spray said.
Keeping a trail through such a system helps to know what has been done in the past to fix a problem, as well as determine if some problems keep occurring.
“We’re very much a team-oriented tech system,” Spray said. “We don’t like having one person know everything.”
Among the benefits to the county are that it is contract labor, so there would not be any employee benefits. In addition, having several people familiar with a system helps with the knowledge base in case someone is gone.
Commissioners also approved a contract with Hillman Media of Norfolk for website hosting and maintenance.
Spray said his company would begin looking at programs to see if there might be ways to combine some of the programs and components, as well as making it web-based.
“We’re going to need about three or four months to get through all the systems and find out exactly what needs to happen,” Spray said. “I will work with you guys and we will come up with some timing on it.”
Commissioners also discussed internet security, especially given recent attacks that have been taking place.
Spray said every system can be protected, but if an employee clicks on the wrong email, everything can be put at risk.
The best thing is to make sure everything is backed up, as well as to have training sessions so employees learn what not to click on , he said.
Anne Pruss, county clerk, said by having a company, not paying all the insurance, Social Security and other benefits would save the county about $18,000 a year.
Madison County commissioners' meeting watch
Members present: Chairman Troy Uhlir, Ron Schmidt and Christian Ohl.
Others in attendance: Anne Pruss, county clerk; Richard Johnson, county highway superintendent; Todd Volk, Madison County sheriff; Joe Smith, county attorney; Eric Stinson, commissioner candidate; one from the public and two reporters.
Meeting lasted: Two hours, 19 minutes.
— Acknowledged receipt of the continuation certificate for Duane J. Wessel as chairman of Sanitary Improvement District 10.
— Acknowledged receipt of the continuation certificate for Kirk Morgan as clerk of Sanitary Improvement District 10.
— Approved the Paul and Kristine Kuchar lot split located at 83651 550th Ave., north of Madison.
— Approved having the highway superintendent negotiate a contract with TMS International for snow removal on roads northeast of Norfolk for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
— Authorized advertising for bids for a wheel loader, one belly dump trailer and one side dump trailer for the road department, setting the bid opening date of Oct. 22.
— Authorized advertising for bids for culverts for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
— Authorized advertising for bids for asphaltic overlay projects for the 2020-21 fiscal year and set the bid opening date for Jan. 14, 2021.
— Approved the dedication of the east 25 feet of Lots 24, 25, 26, and 27 all in Herman Nenow’s Addition to the City of Norfolk, and authorized the county board to execute dedication.
— Authorized the county to continue withholding of Social Security from employees’ pay. The Trump administration is allowing employers to suspend collection of some Social Security taxes, although many people are skeptical that employers may still be liable for the funds.
— Voted not to vacate or abandon the west half-mile of 831st Road between 551st Avenue and 552nd Avenue.
— Approved a substitution of pledged securities with Madison County Bank.
— Reviewed written reports and processed claims.