Houston, we have another IT problem. Something is missing at the Twin Lakes Campground. Trevor Harrison, of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, tries out the new phone “system.”
Boy, Mono County Supervisor Larry Johnston sure doesn’t think much of the way the Town of Mammoth Lakes conducts business.
And seemed to take particular pleasure in watching Mammoth’s Town Manager MMMartinez and Mayor Matthew Lehman grovel before the Mono County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Martinez and Lehman visited Bridgeport Tuesday because the Town has reached a near-desperate predicament with its Information Technology (I.T.) systems.
As the County’s Information Technology Director Clay Neely said Tuesday, “The Town has serious issues with I.T.” He cited aging equipment and software. “They’ve been down with some of their applications for two and three days at a stretch.”
Chris Carmichael of Carmichael Business Technologies, who has been troubleshooting some of the I.T. headaches for the Town since longtime I.T. specialist Dan Dennis left, estimates that the Town’s computer servers are eight years old, and told The Sheet that they tend to break down weekly, needing to be rebooted. The Town’s also run out of server space, so virtually every week, Carmichael’s clearing space just to get the system to function.
The situation is ripe for finger-wagging, and Johnston is just the guy to wag.
“You’ve ignored critical infrastructure,” he said to Martinez. “It bothers me that you’ve waited so long … It’s essential to modern-day operations.”
Johnston questioned why the Town is so set on raising money to spend on marketing via a BID (Business Improvement District) while it ignores operational necessities.
“We acknowledge that we failed to properly invest in I.T.,” replied MMMartinez. “But it is now a priority … and why we are seeking help.”
Short-term, Martinez said the Town would like to enlist the County’s emergency help to purchase and install two new servers.
Long-term, Martinez appears interested in contracting out I.T. services with the County.
Supervisor Tim Fesko questioned whether this is a partnership the County would wish to pursue.
“I do not believe it’s the County’s job to provide services to another [governmental] entity,” he said. He added that County I.T. staff already has its hands full, and that he would take issue with any County job getting delayed if resources were redeployed to the Town’s benefit.
MMMartinez bluffed back with all the expertise of a poker player holding a pair of fours, noting that working with Carmichael Business Technologies doesn’t require addressing a board of five. “The point is, we have other options,” she said. “We just like this option the best.”
Funny, because when The Sheet spoke to Carmichael Thursday, he said that he had already turned down the Town job, mostly because the Town would not make a long-term commitment – which made him skittish about wanting to hire someone.
And taking on the business with his current staff, he felt, would compromise his customer service to existing clients.
There was also the frustration of continually making proposals to the Town, only to have the Staff liaison quit and have to start all over with the next person.
This happened three times.
Recently, however, Carmichael said he’s lost an account, so “I guess I’m interested again,” he said.
Carmichael acknowledged that while it might not be a lucrative account for him, the Town account would be a “prestige” account, as it would give him the opportunity to fix a disaster.
Supervisors approved a motion to aid the Town with the emergency situation involving the servers. The larger issue is to be negotiated.
(Photo: Ken Harrison)