Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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County Commission News

Technologically challenged county weighs IT request for public funds for home use

I have reviewed the Columbia County IT director's request and I find it laughable.

Mr. Manning spends much of his time at meetings playing solitaire and doing e- mail. (Observer Photo)

I would like to know what they consider to be a "critical system." Any FOIA requests never turn up any emails, so I cannot consider the email server critical. Getting budgetary information from the county is equally impossible - I'm guessing the use of an abacus, stone table and hammer and chisel are used to handing all of the accounting data for the county.

From everyday dealing with the county "public servants," the only critical system I can think of would be the web server, if it is indeed housed onsite.

Being on call 24/7 is part of the job duties of an IT Director and staff. That is a fact of life. I have spent many weekends and holidays doing maintenance and upgrades that would have otherwise brought our network down and impacted our daily workflow. Why -- Because it's my job. 

I cannot think of a reason to justify this expenditure. At a time when the county has rolled-back the wages on their employees like Walmart having a sale, cut funding to publicly sponsored youth sports programs, cut back on library programs and moaned about budgetary woes, I find this request utterly distasteful and a potential complete waste of taxpayer money.

Mr. Manning may have spelled this out as a 'data connection', but the Mega-Link service AT&T offers is simply a T1 connection from point 'a' to point 'b', which will allow him access to the County systems. It will also allow him to have internet access from his house at the County's expense, as he could easily configure the system to permit his 'home' side of the network to use the County internet connection for internet access.

Now the County would not only be funding this data connection, but also the 'Manning family internet' access and may be responsible for whatever Todd Manning and his family do while on the internet. Since Mr. Manning is the IT Director, there are no checks and balances.

If Mr. Manning doesn't want to have to work from the office, perhaps he'd be better suited to joining the Celebrity Roast crowd on Comedy Central. I understand his ability to insult the taxpaying citizens of this county is legendary.

This is just another example of Columbia County's technological ignorance and its ability to squander taxpayer money for the "good ole boys" personal gain.

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