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Computers vex commission

March 02, 2001

Computers vex commission



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission, upset over ongoing computer problems in county government, wants to meet soon with the company that is providing computer services.

County Facilities Director Walt Davis told the commissioners Thursday the county needs a "critical" $7,500 fix to its computer system to back up county documents.

That angered Commissioner Robert Burkhart, who has complained for months that the computer system has become a costly albatross. He suggested the county has put $400,000 into the system to fix it or upgrade it since 1998.

"We could have hired 100 employees with the money we've put into that system," Burkhart said. "Every week, it's another $10,000. Next week, it will be something else."

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Mike Manley, president of Software Systems Inc. of Morgantown, has said the company has not had problems with other county offices like it has had in Berkeley County. He has said county officials share some responsibility for the problems.

Particularly vexing have been problems in the County Clerk's Office, where documents are recorded, and in the Circuit Clerk's Office, where legal documents and some election-related documents are stored.

Circuit Clerk Virginia Sine said Thursday her system has not been working properly since Jan. 16.

Burkhart acknowledged he knows nothing about computers, but knows when something isn't working right. He wasn't willing to make the motion to spend $7,500 more on the system.

Neither was Commissioner John Wright, who said, "I don't know anything more about this than a pig skating on ice."

Burkhart finally moved "reluctantly" to pay the bill, but demanded a meeting with officials from the company to discuss concerns.

The county will seek a meeting sometime this month.

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