After suspending – then firing – three information technology (IT) staff members, Farmington Community Library has spent more than $84,000 with a consultant hired to manage tech services.
Farmington Voice filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in February for invoices from several consulting firms, after officials amended the library’s 2021-2022 budget to include $600,000 in professional services. That’s up from $61,950 in 2019-2020 and $181,764 in 2020-2021.
Between June 2020 and February 2021, trustees authorized more than $230,000 in payments to four firms: Barnes & Thornburg, MCCI (communications consultants), Pepper Consulting, and MBM Technology Solutions.
The library hired MBM in September, after placing staff on leave over an assessment that showed “system deficiencies and vulnerabilities.” As of February, the company had been paid $84,138, and their work continues.
Computer issues, updated security
Invoices make note of services that ranged from helping staff with individual computer and email issues to updating security measures. The library has also been billed for a managed security agreement, at a cost of $799 per month.
The largest bill is the first, dated September 29, 2020, for $7,2000, covering a contract base of 60 hours. Most totaled less than $1,000, with many under $500. A December 21, 2020 invoice for two cloud-managed security appliances, totaled $7,000.
MBM disabled accounts and changed passwords of two suspended IT employees on September 22, 2020, fulfilling a September 17 work order, invoices show.
A consultant helped director Riti Grover pull emails in early October for a FOIA request. The company has also created new password protocols and evaluated computers for upgrades or replacement.
‘Manage more with less’
The invoices largely confirm what consultant Jason Goelde told trustees in March. He said the library lacked “basic security policies” and servers had not been updated. The library’s email system was moved to remote servers, after efforts to install a number of updates on in-house servers failed, he said.
“Our big focus is to put things in place that can be easily maintained,” Goelde said, “so you can manage more with less.”
Trustees held a closed meeting last week to talk about remaining IT concerns. The MBM contract is set to expire this month; Grover has plans to hire an in-house IT director.
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