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IT costs going up for government

LAWRENCEVILLE — An upgrade required for access to criminal justice records could cost Gwinnett County hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As part of a budget hearing before a citizen review group Tuesday, Deputy County Administrator Aaron Bovos said the costs of software, hardware and other materials needed for the new requirement is expected to be about $600,000. Plus, the county will need two additional information technology staffers to manage the interface, he said.

Bovos, who is heading the county’s IT staff while officials search for a new director, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation now requires “dual-factor authentification” for anyone who accesses either the national or state Criminal Justice Information database.

In their jobs, hundreds of staffers — from police officers to sheriffs deputies, prosecutors and other court officials — use the information, which includes crime history, fingerprints and other data. And the new requirement says that each must authenticate their identity with a card or other devide and a password, Bovos explained.

On the final day of presentations for preparing the government’s 2014 spending plan, officials heard from departments that support the agencies that provide services. Those included discussions on facilities maintenance, the law department and human resources.

Some of the biggest expected cost increases coming to the government in those areas – other than the projected impact in health care costs due to health care legislation — is from information technology. He said the county has no control over the expected increase of $1.3 million needed for the renewal of software licenses.

After Tuesday’s session, the final of five days of review, two of the four residents reviewing the process said they were impressed with the government’s operations.

Norwood Davis and Herman Pennamon, both of which served on the 2009 Engage Gwinnett committee that reviewed the operations at a time when a recession was causing strain, said officials are running a leaner, more efficient ship.

“Across the board, this organization thinks differently …. delivering high quality service with less resources,” Davis said. “This isn’t the same government it was in 2009.”