Every five years, the county is required to purchase a new storage area network (SAN), a high-speed network of storage devices that connects with servers that can be accessed by any county computer.
“It’s probably one of the most important components to our system,” county information technology director Scott Mayes said during Monday’s Bartholomew County Commissioners meeting.
The current SAN system must be replaced by March, which is when vendors will no longer be able to replace broken components, Mayes told the commissioners.
But to the commissioners’ surprise, there was only one company that submitted a bid that Mayes said he was expecting to go as high as $200,000.
And it turns out the sole bidder is the same company that Mayes worked for before he was appointed county IT director late last year.
The sole bid of $126,043 came from All Covered, formerly known as TLS.NET Inc., where Mayes began working as a consultant in 2012.
It’s a 31-year-old information technology company headquartered at Columbus Municipal AirPark purchased last July by New Jersey-based Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc.
After noting that other companies did request specifications, commissioner Larry Kleinhenz also expressed surprise there weren’t additional bidders.
But Mayes said the SAN system is highly specialized equipment that requires vendors to have special skills and certifications.
“We were very specific about exactly what the county needs, and those vendors who couldn’t provide the kind of support required wouldn’t have bid,” Mayes said.
Following a nearly five-minute discussion, Mayes told the commissioners he’s comfortable with both the product and All Covered, which he described as a company that still hasn’t lost its small, hometown business culture.
All three commissioners voted to accept the bid from All Covered if a closer examination of the offer shows it meets all the county’s specifications.