Software Funding Questioned

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners approved additional funding for software changes but not before expressing concern regarding unanticipated expenses.

At a meeting Wednesday, Director of Emergency Services Director Fred Webster presented the commissioners with a request to approve an over-expenditure of $7,380 associated with new fire reporting software.  They approved the request but did so reluctantly.

“We continuously find these things that seem to fall through the cracks with these types of issues,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said.

Webster told the commissioners that though they’d included funding for fire reporting software in the budget, staff realized recently that additional funding would be required to complete the software upgrade.

“How did we not know we needed this software?” Commissioner Chip Bertino asked.

Webster said the software transition process had taken longer than expected and that his department wasn’t advised by the vendor until four months in that additional funding would be needed.

Bertino questioned whether the vendor should have known from the start that additional funding would be needed from the county.

“I can’t make that judgement call…,” Webster said. “It still would have been after the FY ’19 budget had been struck.”

Bertino pointed out that in addition to the $7,380 expense, the county would also have an additional $1,500 a year in maintenance fees associated with the software.

Commissioner Bud Church made a motion to approve the funding request.

“Things happen,” Church said. “The $1,500 a year is not a whole lot of money. Most of us pay that in fees. I’ll make the motion to approve the request reluctantly.”

Mitrecic seconded the motion but indicated he hoped Billy Birch, who will replace Webster when he retires at the end of the year, was paying attention.

“I hope Mr. Birch is taking note of this, that we don’t like it to fall through the cracks in the future,” he said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the funding request.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.