Hasty and Williams said based on the optics of the proposal, without digging into the finer details, it appeared the contract could save the county a significant amount of money, but agreed to have further discussions before making any decisions.

Huber & Associates, a Jefferson City-based information technology services firm, has officially proposed a one-year contract with the Camden County Commission to administer its online network after providing services during the IT crisis of September 2016.

Clayton Shepard, a systems engineer with Huber, met with Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty and Second District Commissioner Don Williams Tuesday to introduce and discuss the proposal, which the commissioners ultimately tabled for further review.

Shepard explained that the county has been contracting with Huber on an “as needed” basis for time, service and materials. The contract proposal is a more structured managerial service proposal that would allow Huber to oversee the operation and maintenance of the county’s extensive software and hardware databases.

The purchase of additional equipment and/or software as needed would be the county’s responsibility, but Shepard said the proposal would allow for him to act as a consultant and help prepare an IT budget and future equipment upgrade plan that is expected to be needed around 2020.

The proposal is for $13,340 a month for the duration of 12 months.

Huber’s proposal covers the core tenants of online security offering programs to identify and stop attacks from viruses, malware and trojans, while upgrading its firewall, storage and backup capacities.

A monitoring program can be installed that would allow Huber to monitor individual computer communication with other offices and formulate a plan to allow access to certain individuals conducting county business in various offices like the assessor, collector, clerk and auditor. A network administrator would be assigned to conduct quarterly or monthly assessments of operations to assure quality control.

“We’re leaps and bounds from where we were,” Shepard replied when Hasty asked what the current status of the system was as opposed to where it was before Huber got involved.

Shepard explained that when Huber took over the system the first approach was to secure the incoming and outgoing data and communications, working from the outside in to secure the entire network. Shepard said he has not received any service complaints since working on the system, but there have been a few phone related complaints Huber and Missouri Bell Telecom are working to correct.

Hasty and Williams said based on the optics of the proposal, without digging into the finer details, it appeared the contract could save the county a significant amount of money, but agreed to have further discussions before making any decisions.

In 2016, prior to the county’s five-person IT staff being terminated, a total of $170,171 was budgeted for salaries alone under Management Information Systems. In 2017, that budget was cut to just $34,726 in salaries. Those numbers do not include the additional cost of insurance and benefits per position.

The Huber proposal comes out to $160,080 for an entire year of services provided under the contract.

It’s unclear at this time whether or not Huber’s proposal would qualify as a professional service, and therefore not have to go through the public request for qualifications and bidding process. Williams said that was one of the questions the commission wanted to explore before approving any contract.