County outsources information technology as last employee resigns

And then, there were none.

The last remaining employee of the once five-member Bartholomew County’s Information Technology department has submitted his resignation, county commissioners chairman Rick Flohr confirmed.

Sonny Mitchell, whose last day is Friday, will become the eighth county IT specialist to resign over the past 14 months, including three department directors.

While the main issue appears to be low salaries in comparison with the private sector, county officials have also cited a lack of leadership since the departure of longtime IT director Jim Hartsook 14 months ago.

Two elected office holders – county clerk Jay Phelps and county auditor Barb Hackman – said computer problems have the potential of completely shutting down their respective offices.

There’s also concern that hackers could create a public safety issue for law enforcement, as well as incapacitate the courts, Phelps said.

However, Flohr said he believes the situation has been temporarily brought under control after the commissioners contracted out certain IT services with Sharp Business Systems Monday.

The county has agreed to pay Sharp $9,800 to cover 144 hours of “help desk” services if county employees need to call for computer help. An additional $2,500 will be paid to cover 20-hours of on-call work to be performed. Those amounts are projected to cover the county’s IT needs for a two-month period, commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said.

But Sharp IT specialist Danny Harmon, who had worked with Hartsook and is familiar with the county’s computer system, will be part of the team assisting the county, Flohr said.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.