County cyber security, courthouse renovation discussed by elected officials
By Taylor Kaser
Copies of information regarding the implementation of Internet filtering software for courthouse computers was passed out to officials at the September elected officials meeting.
The packets explained what kinds of websites would be blocked and alert messages that could be received when an employee clicks on a suspicious website, link, or pop up.
System preferences can be tailored to the needs of each department or computer by the official of that department. Some websites, including some social media sites, are used by departments in their duties.
A site log will be recorded, like the log of long distance calls in each department. It works on a site basis, rather than screening content by specific key words.
Commissioner Tom Whiston explained that when the computer server was first set up for the courthouse, the filtering software was included. The software costs $3,2000, said Whiston.
Currently under the county’s policies, employees are allowed to use county computers for unrelated work activity as long as it doesn’t interfere with work, explained Whiston.
The commissioners explained that the new program should aid in productivity and cyber security, limiting ways in which viruses and trojans can enter county computers.
Judge Robert Hickson gave an update on the courthouse renovation project, stating that work has already freed up space in the courthouse. Furniture for some of the departments has also been secured, he said, looking at refurbished pieces and other cost effective means.
Whiston reported that the Co. Rd. 9 bridge replacement is on schedule and the new bridge will accommodate two lanes versus the previous one lane.
Sales tax in the county is up, Whiston commented. He also noted that the two opened casinos in the state suffered a 22% drop in revenue last month. He advised that this will probably effect the quarterly payments the county receives from casino revenue via the state.
Sheriff Steve Brenneman noted that two cruisers for his office will entering duty this week. The new MARCS radios donated by Franklin County are now in use, and have been installed in the new cruisers.
Clerk of Courts Vanessa Mills said that the remodel in the Titles department is complete, costing less than $500. It has been cleaned, repainted, and refinished some of the furniture. She also asked the commissioners if a phone system with multiple extensions has ever been considered for the courthouse, instead of separate numbers for each office.
Whiston said that they would look into it.
Hickson also highlighted the large impact that changes in the Ohio public employee pension system has, and could have on county employees. New legislation going into effect later this year could effect many employees retirement plans. Complete information about the changes has not been made clear to employees or officials.
In conclusion, Whiston discussed how mandates on the state level have thrust more of the financial burden of providing services on the local level.
“Our expenses exceed our ability to generate revenue,” said Whiston, “I don’t think there’s any of the levies that we’ve put on for this fall that aren’t for things; the Governor wanted things to go back to the local basis and that’s what we’re attempting to do. Clearly from the Sheriff’s Department, that funding is critical. Roads and bridges, that $10 fee, we probably should have had that 20 years ago. We’ll see what the voters want to do.”
From the commissioners standpoint, Whiston stated, “We’re doing everything we can with every penny we get and cutting any place we can, any optional expense, we’re not doing.”