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Agreement rescinded



Published: Fri, June 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The commissioners want the data processing board to deal with the issue.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County commissioners rescinded a $54,000 agreement they made a week ago with a Boardman company to develop a county Web site.

Commissioners said Thursday that the move was designed to spur the county's data processing board members into meeting and acting on the issue themselves.

County Auditor George J. Tablack, a data board member who has asked that the body be dissolved, called the decision a nonevent.

The commissioners' agreement with Cboss Community Network would have, through a two-phased plan, provided a comprehensive Web site for all county departments. County departments are on several sites. Phase two would implement additional services not now present on the sites.

Commissioner chairman Anthony Traficanti said that commissioners, in the absence of a board, had the authority to make the agreement themselves.

Experienced board

"But I'm not a computer person, and I don't know what to do about some of these issues," he said. "I'd rather have a board with some expertise in make the decision."

In addition to Tablack, the data board includes Commissioner David Ludt; Treasurer John Reardon; Recorder Ron Gerberry; Clerk of Courts Anthony Vivo Jr.; Michael Sciortino, director of the county elections board; and Thomas McCabe, elections board deputy director.

Board members have cited problems in coordinating schedules for their inability to meet this year, but say they've been trying to arrange a meeting since April 29. The board's purpose is to oversee the procurement of equipment and personnel for the county's data processing functions.

Ludt said he had hoped the DPB would meet before the departure of information technology director Stephen Stanec.

Stanec was to begin a new job in West Palm Beach, Fla., this week.

"I've been on the board for six years and these are problems that we've always talked about," Ludt said. "We wanted to do something about the phone system before Stanec left."

Phone service plan

A plan consolidating all county phone services under a master agreement with one provider also awaits approval by the DPB. Officials have estimated that the plan could save the county $1.2 million over seven years.

"We need to deal with these far-reaching issues," Ludt said. "I hope we meet -- the sooner, the better."

In an e-mail response to questions from The Vindicator, Tablack said the board "has missed a golden opportunity [to meet again] since April 29," especially in light of Stanec's departure. Jake Williams was appointed interim IT director.

"Our immediate priorities are only to keep existing projects moving, and try to keep all systems stable," he said. "Most counties our size [six employees] have at least twice as many employees to support this amount of technology."

Tablack said that he "hopes the interim director will catch on fast so that perhaps in two weeks or a month from now we may revisit these missed opportunities."

Tablack said the commissioners' decision was ironic because "both projects [Web site and phone system] were to solve problems which existed within the commissioners' authority."




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