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DATA PROCESSING AND COMMUNICATIONS

BACKGROUND

The Data Processing and Communications Division, under the umbrella of the County General Services Administration (GSA), is responsible for the evaluation, acquisition, installation, maintenance and repair of all County data processing and communication software and hardware. In addition, this division provides end-user training, monitoring and reporting violations of the County's "Information Assets Policy." One Computer Resource Coordinator, one Information System Specialist and three Microcomputer Technicians staff the division.

METHODOLOGY

Persons interviewed:

  1. GSA Director
  2. Computer Resource Coordinator

Documents examined:

  1. 1999-2000 Final County Budget
  2. Job descriptions for positions within the division
  3. Expenditure Transaction Analysis for July 1998 through March 2000
  4. Policies and Procedures Manual Section 5-300, Communication Systems and Information Assets Policy

Site visit:

FACTS

  1. All software applications are in-house with the exception of an application used by the Health and Human Services Agency. That agency's data is entered at the County Health and Human Services location, transmitted to Sacramento and processed, with the output printed at County Health and Human Service's operations location.
  2. The County has it's own in-house internet/intranet access capabilities. All departments use this network with the exception of Veteran's Services, Archives, Animal Control and Agriculture. The exceptions are due to the physical locations of the facilities, minimum usage and cost.
  3. The County currently uses one wireless phone service provider, one "dial tone" provider and another for equipment and repair service. The type and brand of equipment, cost and available resources dictate the service provider.
  4. The current access to the facility that houses the Data Processing and Communications Division is unsafe. The space is cramped and congested, with poor lighting, air circulation and temperature control.
  5. This division does not set policy, but makes recommendations and serves as an advisor to the Board of Supervisors on data processing and communication matters.
  6. As discussed in the County Library section of this document, computers are provided for public use. Computer problems and issues that are directly related to the public's usage of the computers occur frequently.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. The GSA Director and the Board of Supervisors have addressed the deplorable conditions of the facility with new facilities scheduled for completion and occupancy in September 2000.
  2. The division appears to be efficient and well run, with staff performing their duties in a professional manner.
  3. The computers in the Jackson Branch of the County Library used by the public require ongoing technical support that is beyond the expertise of the library staff.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The Board of Supervisors monitor the progress of the construction for the new building that will house the Data Processing and Communication Division and insure it's completion and readiness for occupancy in the Fall of 2000.
  2. Assign one Microcomputer Technician to the Jackson Branch of the County Library for one full day per week to support the computers used by the public.

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