Because the document was allegedly not in the possession of the county at the time of the records request, Growcock claimed the Missouri Sunshine Law was not violated.

A contract that Camden County commissioners have said didn’t exist and that wasn’t turned over during a Sunshine Law request for related records has been uncovered.

The Lake Sun obtained evidence of a contract between the commission and Huber & Associates signed Oct. 24, 2016, from an outside source.

When approached by the Lake Sun recently with photos of a paper copy of a Scope-of-Work agreement signed by Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty, the commission checked its records again but still could not find the contract, according to attorney Matthew Growcock.

The commission then approached Huber. The Jefferson City information technology (IT) services company had apparently retained the agreement. A digital copy of the contract has now been turned over to the Lake Sun via e-mail.

Because the document was allegedly not in the possession of the county at the time of the records request, Growcock claimed the Missouri Sunshine Law was not violated.

“The document provided in my prior email was not a document in the possession of the Commission at the time of your Sunshine request. However, the Sunshine Law only requires the public body to produce documents in their possession – it does not create an obligation for the public body to go out and seek documents requested,” commented Growcock via email. “As for why the document was not in the possession of the Commission, the answer is unclear. It appears there was some turnover in the County during that time that may have created the issue.”

It is still unclear, however, what “turnover” was occurring in October/November 2016 that might have resulted in the loss of a paper - not digital - document. It is unclear why the document was not turned over to the county clerk’s office, the custodian of records for the commission by state law.

It is also not clear whether the failure by the commission to turn over the document or a copy of the document to the clerk’s office to become part of the official county record is a violation of state law.

No explanation for the conflicting statement from the commission on the existence of the document has been forthcoming.

While the commission and clerk’s offices are currently and openly at odds, the disagreement between the two offices did not arise until early 2017. That's when disagreements between the clerk’s office and the human resources department over payroll and benefits paperwork during a period of significant employee turnover in the sheriff’s office as the new sheriff took office occurred around the first of the year.

HR operates under the auspices of the commission office.

It is unclear if other commission records have not made it to the clerk’s office for safekeeping. In March 2017, the clerk’s office was removed as minute-taker for commission meetings, leaving the commission’s office responsible for delivering the minutes to the clerk’s office as well as other documentation.

Prior to seeing photos of the contract provided by the Lake Sun, commissioners had said they were purchasing blocks of hours from Huber as needed without an agreement.

Copied on emails between the Lake Sun and Growcock at the initiation of Growcock, Presiding Commissioner Hasty made no comment throughout the exchange. He also made no response to a direct email from the Lake Sun asking him for comment.

Huber is an IT contractor that was tasked with getting computer networks back up after at least one server was confiscated by the FBI in mid-September 2016 in relation to an investigation of an alleged security breach of the county IT network.

The courthouse was left without phones, email, a website and limited file-sharing capabilities. Phones came back up within a few days, but it took months for other parts of the system to be restored and upgraded.

More than a year later, the outcome of the investigation is unknown. At last check in August 2017, the case file was still closed as part of the ongoing investigation.

Overall, the crisis and subsequent restoration of IT at the courthouse, with upgrades necessary for network security, cost the county nearly $100,000, according to Lake Sun calculations.

In an effort to determine the overall price tag of the IT-related issues, the Lake Sun had made a Sunshine Law request with the county clerk’s office in April 2017 for all IT-related invoices and payments between January 2016 and April 2017 and for any and all IT contracts, specifically asking about two known IT providers for the county during the restoration. RVC Data Recovery and Huber & Associates were cited by name.

The Lake Sun received extensive IT-related billing and purchase order documentation from Accounts Payable and a copy of the contract between the commission and RVC, via the county clerk’s office with Growcock consulting.

Afterwards, the Lake Sun called the county clerk’s office and specifically asked about a contract or agreement between the commission and Huber due to the IT company actively doing work for the county at the time. According to Deputy Clerk Becky Farris, the clerk’s office did not have such a document.

About the contract

The October 2016 agreement between the commission and Huber covered BladeCenter and VMware updates.

The project scope included two main categories, IBM Firmware and Software upgrades and Virtualization Software.

Under IBM Firmware and Software upgrades are:

•Upgrade Firmware on IBM Blade Center Advanced Management Module

•Upgrade iOS on Chassis Network Switches

•Upgrade Firmware on the IBM Blades

—1 IBM Hs12

—4 IBM HS22s

—3 IBM HS23s

•Upgrade Firmware on DS3400 Controllers and ESMs (Downtime Required)

•Upgrade Hard Disk Drive micro-code (Downtime Required)

•Update IBM DS Storage Manger.

Under Virtualization Software, tasks included:

•Upgrade VMWare vCenter and modules to latest release of 6.0

•Upgrade ESXi Hosts to latest release of 6.0

•Upgrade Veeam to latest release of version 8.

The agreement also enumerated Huber’s responsibilities. These included:

•Establish and maintain project communications with Camden County point-of-contact

•Monitor project tasks, schedules and resources against the project plan and provide status resort to your point-of-contact

•Review and administer any changes with your point-of-contact

•Coordinate and manage the technical activities of project personnel.

Camden County responsibilities laid out in the contract state that prior to the start of the “SOW” (Scope of Work), Camden County will designate a person as a point of contact for Huber. This person was to have the authority to act for the client in all aspects of the project.

According to the agreement, the “Point of Contact” was required to:

•Serve as the interface between our project team and all of your departments participating in this project

•Administer changes with our Project Manager

•Help resolve project issues and escalate issues with your organization, as necessary

•Provide suitable workspace with telephone access for our personnel while working on your premises.

Last, but not least, contract sets pricing by Huber at the rate of $150 per hour during normal business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday) and $225 per hour off-shift (after-hours and weekends).

The contract then goes into Terms and Conditions covering details of payments, change orders, warranties, termination, excusable delays and limitation of liability among others.

The Lake Sun has not verified at this time whether the work outlined in the contract was completed as stated and how secure courthouse networks now are, though the systems are operational.

It should be noted that in June 2017 the county commission claimed to have discovered that one of the county’s most important midrange servers - property tax bill information for the collector’s office - and other servers and data files lacked secure off-site back-up.

However, a subsequent review by the Lake Sun of the commission’s September 2016 contract with RVC Data Recovery - terminated within a couple of months - showed that remote geographic backup of data was the first bullet point under the scope of work for RVC in the aftermath of the IT shutdown.

That responsibility was not transferred from RVC to Huber after RVC was terminated by the commission in the fall of 2016, putting county records at risk for more than seven months until the commission finally approved the purchase of backup services from Huber in July 2017.

At the same, the commission also signed a new agreement with Huber to provide ongoing tech support as the county’s in-house IT department was terminated in September 2016 following the network shutdown.