News Column

Miami Co. courthouse without Internet, email

February 13, 2014

By Carson Gerber, Kokomo Tribune, Ind.



Feb. 13--PERU -- Basic government services have been on hold for nearly a week in Miami County after a massive server failure knocked out Internet and email access in most departments and offices.

Miami County Commissioner Josh Francis said the county's Internet server failed sometime during the middle of last week, disrupting Internet and email access throughout the courthouse. He said the problems escalated over the next couple of days.

"Obviously, in today's world, losing Internet access shuts down just about everything," he said. "It's definitely affected the flow of business here."

Clerk of Courts Tawna Leffel-Sands said Tuesday her department has been unable to accept payments for things like traffic tickets or reconcile its bank accounts, which is supposed to be done every day.

The department also hasn't been able to suspend or revoke suspension on driver's licenses or process marriage certificates, she said.

"People couldn't even come in and get married here," Leffel-Sands said. "It's pretty bad."

Auditor Jane Lilley said she was forced to work on the county's payroll by hand for the last week. Processing claims and annual reports has also been disrupted.

"It didn't shut us down completely," she said. "But we're going to be cramming to meet our deadlines on the electronic side of things that have to be done."

Angela Bever, director of community corrections, reported working from home or at local wireless Internet hotspots to keep up with her workload.

"We're pretty resourceful here in this department," she said. "But it has been an annoyance."

Officials with the courts said they didn't have to postpone any hearings, but said the courts' business went much slower without Internet or email.

Francis said the county's IT department worked through the weekend to restore the server, but will have to manually reconnect every individual county computer to the Internet.

Leffel-Sands said two computers in the clerk's department had been restored Tuesday, but there were still 15 more that needed to be reconnected.

Once the problem is fixed, she said, the clerk's office will be swamped for weeks trying to catch up with work and deal with residents who didn't receive timely service.

"People are going to be angry," Leffel-Sands said. "It's put a huge strain on us."

IT Director John Evans has reported some of the county's servers are becoming outdated and will soon need to be replaced. Last year, he asked commissioners to purchase a backup server for $20,000 in case one failed, but the county has yet to authorize the purchase.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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(c)2014 the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.)

Visit the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.) at www.kokomotribune.com

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Source: Kokomo Tribune (IN)


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