The Guilford County Board of Commissioners jumped out of the hot seat on Thursday, Jan. 17, but by doing so they may have landed right in the middle of a construction contract conundrum.Read More
Author: Scott D. Yost
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A rooster is on the lam in Greensboro.Read More
A lot of people know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. but they might not know the story of the City of Greensboro’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade that will take place at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21.Read More
A panic spread across Facebook and other social media over what county officials say was merely an untrue rumor that eight healthy shelter dogs were going to be euthanized on Friday, Jan. 18 due to space issues the shelter faces during cold weather.Read More
Well, you knew it was coming sooner or later and, if you drew “sooner” in your office betting pool, then you are the winner.Read More
The ‘80s were a fun time for its Miami Vicepastel fashions and Def Leppard music, but the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has decided to move the county’s central computing system off of a legacy platform that still has computer code from the ‘80s and even some earlier than that.
The county has decided to cast off the old – a computing system from Lawson Software Inc. that the county has used for 13 years – and instead purchase a new iPhone- and iPad-friendly system expected to make the lives of county employees much easier – once they learn the new system.
Like Lawson, the new system “Munis,” from Tyler Technologies, handles almost all aspects of Guilford County government: financial records, human resources functions, talent management, supply procurement, bidding events, payroll and more.
While Guilford County purchased the existing Lawson system in 2005, it was written in COBOL – a computing language introduced in 1959.
The Guilford County Commissioners voted unanimously at a work session last week to throw out the old and bring in the new after Guilford County Chief Information Officer Hemant Desai made a compelling case why they should do so. He said Lawson simply wasn’t keeping up with the times.
“The mindset is to keep the customer in an older platform for too long, and I think that is what caused me some grief over supporting that product that was so aged,” Desai said. “It depends on technologies that are 20th century technologies. It’s actually written in COBOL. I’m not kidding. And we still have COBOL modules in 2019 running in Guilford County.”
Commissioner Jeff Phillips jumped in and said, “I was programming in COBOL in 1982,” and Commissioner Skip Alston said he was doing the same in 1976.
Commissioner Alan Perdue was the director of Guilford County Emergency Services when Lawson was implemented and Perdue said he still remembers the massive headaches.
“We tried to put a square peg in a round hole,” Perdue said.
He added that, to make county employees feel better, county management put up signs that said, “We’re going nuts over Lawson!”
“I said we need to change that to say, ‘Lawson is driving us nuts,’ he said. “It didn’t work and I think we’ve been suffering over that for quite some time.”
Perdue said that buying the new system looks like “a cost” but, really, when productivity and new opportunities are factored into the equation, it will be a cost saver.
Some of the key benefits of the new system include a modern user interface that plays well with mobile devices, enhanced reporting capabilities, more financial features and a design built from the ground up specifically for local government.
The county will pay recurring fees of $730,000 for five years and a one-time Implementation cost of $1.4 million for a total five-year cost of just over $5 million.
By making the move, Guilford County will save about $650,000 that it won’t have to shell out to upgrade its Lawson system this year.
County officials expect to benefit financially from enhanced employee productivity since the system will hopefully be faster and easier to use.
County staff say they’ve experienced major problems over the last year and a half with the current system, which they say crashes often. According to a statement from county staff, that has “negatively impacted users ability to perform their daily functions.”Read More
The evidence seems clear now that one Guilford County project is cursed by supernatural powers and, no matter how hard the Guilford County Board of Commissioners tries to get the project done, it will always be thwarted in one way or another.Read More
On Thursday, Jan. 17, after a long closed session, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners came out into open session and took an action that no one saw coming.Read More
On Thursday, Jan. 17, the question of black participation in Guilford County construction contracts dropped and exploded like a nuclear bomb on Guilford County government.Read More
If you think it’s hectic dropping off or picking up passengers at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) on a busy air travel day right now, well, it’s going to be a lot more hectic later this year because PTIA is conducting a major renovation, repair and replacement project of the roadway and parking plaza in front of the arrival and departure gates.Read More
A Guilford County staff selection committee has decided that Greensboro-based Samet Corp. is “by far” the right company to build a new $20-million adult services mental health building to be constructed on Third Street in Maple Professional Park in Greensboro, near the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services Building on Maple Street.Read More
It’s hard to keep track of all the pieces of the giant construction puzzle going on in downtown High Point as part of the city’s rejuvenation project these days, however, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, another big piece of that puzzle was put squarely into place.Read More
Former Guilford County Commissioner Warren Dorsett passed away recently at the age of 91. Dorsett, who served on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners from 1993 to 2002, died at Hospice Home at High Point.Read More
The US Census Bureau is best known for its wildly popular population results released once every 10 years; however, census workers don’t just lay down on the job and rest on their laurels the other nine years – in fact, they are very busy bees, constantly collecting all sorts of information you might never think they would.Read More
According to reports out of multiple Guilford County departments and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners this week, the partial government shutdown isn’t having any effect on Guilford County government with one exception – some families will get their food and nutrition benefits earlier than usual.Read More
Drivers in Greensboro often complain about crazy traffic patterns and dangerous intersections around the city – and now they can put that constant griping to good use.Read More
Guilford County government is about to attempt something akin to repairing or replacing a jet engine while the jet is in flight.Read More
It’s not the Rumble in the Jungle or the Thrilla in Manila, but it might be called the Showdown in Downtown or the Battle of the Blue Room.Read More
They say “Better late than never” and, apparently, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners – after waiting nearly a half a year – will finally get the results of the $1 million school facilities study that they’ve been waiting on.Read More
Former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes may have lost the election in November, but he certainly hasn’t lost his desire to engage in the public debate on law enforcement matters.Read More
Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers is getting rid of a lot of the old practices from the Sheriff’s Department as it was run under former longtime Sheriff BJ Barnes, but there’s one tradition he’s decided to continue and put his own unique spin on: Rogers and his new department will use the Guilford County Sheriff’s Citizen Academy as part of a broader effort to bridge the divide between the Sheriff’s Department and the county’s citizens.Read More
The expression “killing two birds with one stone” sounds negative in a way, but officials with Guilford County Schools are nothing but positive about a new program being implemented in 2019 that’s meant to do just that.Read More
At the Thursday, Jan. 10, Guilford County Animal Services Advisory Board meeting, Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega said that 2018 was a year of progress for the shelter in a number of ways.Read More
This week, the Summerfield Town Council voted 4 to 1 to retain attorney Gray Wilson, with the Winston-Salem firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, to defend the town as well as Town Councilmember Dianne Laughlin – who’s being sued by former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck over the seat that Rotruck lost and Laughlin now occupies.Read More
Given all the good things that happened at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) in 2018, years from now area citizens may very well look back on the year and say it was the one when the airport finally took off. In many ways, over the past 12 months, PTIA has started to look like the Little Airport that Could. There’s no question, at least, that the airport thinks it can, thinks it can.Read More
Last week, when the NC Attorney General’s office authorized former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck, on behalf of the state, to sue sitting Town Councilmember Dianne Laughlin to remove her from the seat that Rotruck formerly held, there was a lot of confusion all around to say the least.Read More
The more the merrier. Apparently that even goes for juvenile detention centers.Read More
Meetings held by Guilford County commissioners and staff to set the agenda for upcoming Board of Commissioners meetings are almost always low-key affairs, however, at a Tuesday, Jan. 8 agenda meeting, Chairman Alan Branson and Commissioner Skip Alston got into a lively back and forth over the amount of work that would go to black-owned firms in a proposed contract for a $14.4-million county construction project.Read More
Guilford County and Cone Health have banged out a contract that covers exactly who’s responsible for exactly what in the coming joint effort in which the county will hire Cone to provide the county’s mental health services.Read More
They don’t give out prizes at county fairs for growing universities, but if High Point University were a pumpkin, there’s no question HPU President Nido Qubein would take home the blue ribbon in the Most Impressive Growth category.Read More
Summerfield Town Councilmember Dianne Laughlin spoke recently about the lawsuit filed against her by former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck in an attempt to win back his seat on the council, which would, of course, remove Laughlin from the position she now holds.Read More
The Guilford County commissioners sound like they’re starting to believe they are trapped in the play “Waiting for Godot.”Read More
In a rare move, the NC Attorney General’s office has authorized former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck to bring suit against Summerfield Town Councilmember Dianne LaughlinRead More
On Wednesday, Jan. 2, some Guilford County commissioners, Greensboro City Councilmembers and county and city staff met in the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro to discuss a proposed Cure Violence initiative and see whether the program, if approved, should be placed administratively under the non-profit One Step Further Inc.Read More
Talk of the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite may have died down since the site was passed over by a Toyota-Mazda project almost exactly one year ago, but there are still high hopes for the site, and area leaders say it remains very attractive to large automotive companies and others.Read More
The New Year of 2019 is bringing a lot more to Guilford County than new calendars: It’s also bringing the start of a discussion about a giant new school bond referendum that some say could amount to a request for a billion dollars.Read More
The squeaky wheel may be the one that gets the grease, but the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has been as quiet as a mouse when it comes to what the county, through official channels, is asking state legislators for in terms of favors, wishes, funding – you name it.Read More
Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers said that despite the way former Sheriff BJ Barnes publicly attacked him after he won the sheriff’s race, he loves Barnes and wishes the best for him.Read More
The early bird may get the worm, but Guilford County Board of Education Member Byron Gladden hopes the early announcer gets the school board seat.Read More
High Point is starting 2019 on the right economic development foot.Read More
Jail population numbers included in the latest Guilford County audit show that, for the most recent complete fiscal year, 2017-2018, the number of inmates held in the county’s two jails is almost exactly the same as it was 10 years ago when the county decided to build a giant 1,032-bed $100-million jail because the jail population was expected to “skyrocket” over the next decade.Read More
The big High Point downtown baseball stadium project promised new jobs for area residents – and the team that will play there is now delivering on that promise: The High Point Rockers baseball team has just announced a slew of new jobs that it’s looking to fill.Read More
January is a time when everyone typically gets back to work after taking off a month and a half, but Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, the City of Greensboro and the United Way of Greater Greensboro are asking everyone to see the month as something else as well – a time to sign up to mentor kids who need guidance during the most important stages in their lives.Read More
The saying goes, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid,” and Guilford County officials are hoping the State of North Carolina will be one of those forces that comes to its aid in the county’s bold new mental health initiative.
Guilford County officials have a major plan to recreate the delivery of mental health services across the county and they would like some help paying the bill. In early 2019, the county will ask the state for some financial backing for the plan, which state officials have already said they admire greatly.
This week, State Rep. Jon Hardister said he certainly can see the NC General Assembly getting on board. He said that could even be done without adding any new money to the state budget since the budget already includes funds to enhance mental health services in North Carolina.
“The money in the Dorothea Dix Fund goes to mental health,” Hardister said, adding that the county could apply for a grant from that fund.
Two weeks ago, Guilford County announced that it had entered into an agreement with Cone Health system and Sandhills Center, with the blessing of state officials, to completely reshape the way mental health services are delivered. That’s all well and good but the plan calls for, among other things, a new county building estimated to cost about $20 million.
Hardister said that in his mind it’s certainly a worthy cause for state backing.
“It is not rare for the General Assembly to support mental health at the local level,” he said. “We all recognize that it’s a problem.”
He added that Guilford County, Cone and Sandhills are making a “substantial” move to address the problem and the state would certainly like to help the endeavor be successful.
Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips, who’s been the county’s point man on the project, said he’s been very pleased at the way the state has received the idea so far.
Phillips said his interactions with Hardister, Rep. John Faircloth, State Senator Rick Gunn and others had been very positive.
“I’ve been very encouraged by those conversations,” Phillips said.
He also said one of the big pluses about this particular issue is that it’s not really political: Both Democrats and Republicans are highly interested in improving mental health services.
“Whether you’ve got a D or an R beside your name, that doesn’t matter,” Phillips said. “It’s sort of like the Family Justice Center and domestic violence – everybody agrees that’s an area we need to focus on. And this is an area where everyone agrees we need to do better.”
The issue is likely to be addressed by the General Assembly in the spring.Read More