Upshur County Commissioners, at their meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Courthouse, are expected to tell the two employees of the county’s Information Technology Dept. when their jobs will end.
Commissioners voted 3-0, with one abstention, to outsource the county’s information technology needs to a Dallas firm, with the stated goal of saving the county about $20,000 a year.
The two employees will be IT director Karmen Kelley, and her assistant, Heather Steelman, who is also her daughter-in-law.
Mrs. Kelley has worked for the county in various capacities, either part-time, contract or, mostly, full-time for 35 years. Mrs. Steelman has been a county employee for five years.
Mrs. Kelley said no one can accurately claim she has not been a loyal and dedicated employee.
“I can’t tell you how many family gatherings and holidays I’ve left and come back to town because there was a problem that needed to be fixed immediately,” she said.
Recently, she came in on a Saturday and did work on the jail security system so they could proceed with visitation on time the next day.
She and others have questioned whether the outside vendor will be able to respond to the county’s needs as rapidly as someone in house.
Representatives of the company told the court Oct. 31 at the meeting at which commissioners voted to outsource the work that they have an employee in the area that can respond quickly.
Mrs. Kelley questioned whether the outside vendor, Inline Network Integration LLC, will actually be able to achieve the savings they’ve projected.
She predicted they will come to the court and ask for more equipment, which she said she has needed but been denied for budgetary reasons, and will have to get software work done by someone else.
She said she has done software work where needed as part of her job.
Pct. 4 Comm. Mike Spencer, who had brought the matter before the court at the Oct. 31 meeting, said that the court as a whole will decide Thusday when the last day for the in-house IT work will be.
“I’m only one vote, and it takes three votes to do something,” he said. He said that there will need to be overlap and cooperation during the transition period.
At the Oct. 31 meeting, he said the issue was “not about Karmen, but about moving forward.”
Other items on the agenda include:
• Whether to allow the American Legion, which has a Gilmer post, to handle Veteran’s Services.
• Open and read the names of those that delivered qualifications for construction manager for Courthouse Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) renovation.
• Possibly taking the routine action of adopting a resolution supporting the county’s indigent defense grant program.
• Discuss and take action on accepting Private Road 2304 at Walnut Creek Estates into the county road system.
• Discuss and take action to approve Emma Oaks Road to begin the 2-year waiting perid for county maintenance and accept a cash performance bond.