MITCHELL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS - Tuesday, February 20, 2024

By Terry Bailey

The Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their weekly meeting on Tuesday this week because Monday was the Federal observance of President's Day. All Commissioners and the County Clerk were present.
Jeff Roberg, County IT director, and Tony Perez, Mitchell County sheriff, were present and requested a ten-minute executive session to discuss Courthouse security. When the regular meeting resumed, it was announced that no decisions were forthcoming as a result of the closed session.
Roberg then handed out information to the Commissioners and said, "This is a topic on which we have no choice. We have to take action immediately."
He was referring to the current IBM AF 400 server. This is the brains of the entire computer network in the Courthouse.
Roberg said, "The AF 400 server has been in use at the Courthouse for seven years. It has performed well. However, IBM will no longer support this server. If IBM does not service the machine and we keep using it, we are sticking our necks very far out. If anything goes wrong, we would be on our own."
Roberg recommended the purchase of a new IBM Series 10 server to replace the AF 400. "This would be a state-of-the-art server and IBM will offer supportive services for several years."
The cost of the new server is $39,689.43. One bright spot is that IBM will provide support services for free for three years. This service has a yearly price tag of about $4,000. This would result in a three-year total savings of about $12,000.
The Commissioners agreed that they had no choice except to purchase a new server. It is a hardware device that virtually every department of the County accesses and uses. They voted 3-0 to purchase the new server.
Sheriff Perez then introduced the newest officer to his department, Zed the K-9 dog. Zed is a two-year old Belgian Malinois. Born in Holland Zed made his way to Texas where he received his initial training. Officer Matthews recently spent four weeks at the canine training facility in Texas where he and Zed worked closely together.
Matthews said, "We are slowly working him into our routine. He is trained to sniff out hard narcotics. He also is trained as a bite dog, if worse comes to worse."
Zed had a price tag of $16,400. While this is a considerable amount, K-9 dogs usually pay back the cost in the discovery of drugs and other contraband that would otherwise go undetected.
Matthews and Zed have a 24/7 attachment to one another. They spend the working shift together and then Zed goes home with Matthews for the night.
Matthews was asked if he would be doing some public demonstrations at schools and other venues. "We definitely want to work that into our schedule. However, we have a lot of bonding yet to do before we try something like that."
Lynn Imboden reported on the recent informational sessions conducted by representative of Colonial Life. They had been give permission by the Commissioners to "pitch" their services available to County employees. The employees currently have these services available through AFLAC. The Colonial representatives did meet with numerous employees and touted their services as less expensive that AFLAC which they were.
A big problem arises with someone dropping AFLAC and signing on with Colonial in mid-year. There could be legal complications with a mid-year switch.
The Commissioners decided to have all employees continue with AFLAC until the open enrollment period in January. That way the employee can made a year-long commitment to one or the other.
Terrence Silva, Mitchell County Communications director, reported on a Pipeline training he and his staff attended at Buffalo Roam in Mankato.
One of the activities of the evening was a drawing for a number of prizes. Silva said the Mitchell County group was especially lucky and won over $1,000 in prizes. He reported he and his staff were looking at ways to spend the money that would benefit the entire department.
Rachal Malay, Port Library head librarian, volunteered to serve another term as the Mitchell County representative to the Central Kansas Library System.
Commissioner Tom Claussen announced that the National Weather Service from Hastings will be offering its yearly Storm Spotter training in the Severance Conference Center at the NCK Technical College on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. All interested parties are invited to attend.
Having addressed all the items on the printed agenda, the meeting was adjourned.


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