Aldermen Discuss City IT Management

By ERIC X. VICCARO

eviccaro@stegenherald.com

The city of Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen had a work session on Jan. 14 to discuss information technology management.

Monte Hickey, president of Forward/Slash Technology, made a short presentation via the Zoom teleconferencing application.

Forward/Slash Technology is a St. Louis-based computer consulting firm serving mainly small and medium-sized business.

The company has been in business for more than 20 years, and one of its specialties is municipal infrastructure. For example, Forward/Slash provides IT services for the city of Perryville, 28 miles south of Ste. Genevieve.

During the work session, there seemed to be some confusion among the aldermen about what kind of services would be offered, should the elected officials give the green light to Forward/Slash.

Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch said the company would provide 24-hour information monitoring.

“It would be the traffic in and out of the system,” Welch explained.

The company also offers a 24-hour help desk, assists municipalities with planning – including possible future equipment purchases.

It could be beneficial to have professional IT support, especially in light of the recent purchase of new computers for the Ste. Genevieve Police Department.

“I think they have the technical skills needed to help us,” Welch said during the discussions, after the city sent out a request for qualifications (RFQ) on IT services.

Even during former city administrator Martin Toma’s tenure, a lack of security in the city’s computer system was seen as an area of concern — noted during the work session.

IT systems are comprehensive, including firewalls, telephone systems, servers and offsite data back-up services.

Welch said he’s still working on contract details with Forward/Slash, with no price tag set yet for possible future rendered services.

It’s likely IT management will return as an agenda item within the next month, Welch reported, possibly as early as the March 4 meeting.

In a related matter, Welch reported the city is looking at restarting the TextCaster service for emergency notifications.

Broadcasted notifications could be road closures, water main breaks, boil orders and severe weather bulletins.

WORK SESSION NOTES

At the work session, Welch asked for volunteers to serve on both a health insurance committee and a water/sewer contract committee.

• Ward 2 Alderman Bob Donovan,  Ward 4’s Ashley Armbruster and  Joe Prince were named to the water/sewer contract committee — and the group met after a work session on Jan. 28.

“We need to decide on contracting for both the water and sewer departments,” Welch said.

The city of Ste. Genevieve’s contract with Alliance Water Resources, who currently provides services, expires on

Sept. 1, 2021.

There are several available options, including keeping Alliance. The city could also decide to handle water and sewer systems in house, or send out a RFQ from other possible providers.