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Jefferson Co. clerk seeks funds for software to protect records

August 11, 2006|b DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - There was another tense exchange between Jefferson County Clerk Jennifer Maghan and county officials Thursday, this time over Maghan's request for $108,000 for new software to protect county records.

Maghan told the Jefferson County Commissioners that Morgan County officials were able to save government records from a fire that damaged the county's courthouse early Tuesday.

But she expressed concern about the safety of records in the Jefferson County Courthouse if there is a fire. Some of the county's records date to the early 1800s, Maghan said.

Maghan requested $108,000 for computer software that would be used to create a computer image of all county records.

Commissioner Jim Surkamp made a motion to give Maghan's office the $108,000, but other commissioners raised concerns about the request.

There was a discussion about whether the software program would interface with the tax office's computer system, which is overseen by Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober. Boober said any of the records scanned into the new computer system that deal with accounting and payroll would have to interface with the tax department computer system.

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Commissioner Jane Tabb said she needs to see documents that ensure the software will be compatible with other county computer operations, and Manuel wanted to know how much money already has been spent to upgrade the county's computer operations.

"This is not a large request (compared) to the value we will have," Maghan said.

The discussion grew tense at times, and Maghan said it is important to "let me do my job."

Commission President Greg Corliss, who has been concerned about the county's spending practices, said he was concerned Maghan's request was "just another raid" on county funds.

Surkamp withdrew his motion to give Maghan the money, with the understanding that the issue would be discussed again later.

A month ago, Maghan, Boober, Chief Tax Deputy Teresa Hendricks and commissioners met to discuss problems Hendricks said she has been having with the county's finance office. Maghan oversees the finance department.

Boober said that problem started when the finance department used payroll records from January instead of May to make May's payroll. It resulted in some employees being overpaid, some employees being underpaid and some people being paid who no longer worked for the county, Boober said.

It ended up putting the county's government payroll $6,406 in debt, Boober said.

Maghan defended her department and called the criticism "picky and petty."

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