I attended the February 22, 2022 Camden County Commission meeting at 10:00 a.m.
Commissioners Hasty and Gohagan were present for the meeting.
I was almost late for this meeting because there was a big line outside the metal detector at the courthouse entrance. If you walk up and there are at least three ladies with purses in front of you, you might as well just turn around and go home. The deputy goes through every little zipper pocket and with some of these purses, it takes forever.
Besides the usual Camden County employees, Lydia Porter and Gohagan’s dentist were present at the meeting.
There was a Public Comment portion but nobody said anything.
The first agenda item was the Camden County IT Policy. If you recall, there was an earlier meeting a few months ago where Commissioner Hasty was really excited about the fact that Camden County was able to get a cybersecurity insurance policy. Commissioner Hasty had said he doesn’t sleep well at night because he worries about the the “cyber threat” to Camden County.
Apparently, the insurance company took a look at some of Camden County’s computer security policies and required some changes before they would write the policy. One of these changes is requiring two factor authentication to sign on to their county computers. The Auditor amended the IT Policy to reflect this and needed approval of the policy from the Commission.
The problem is that many of the employees and elected officials don’t want the authentication software installed on their personal phones. They would prefer to use a a key fob or other device that would either display a code or require insertion into the computer to authenticate the user. The Auditor was pushing to get this approved because the insurance company gave the county a deadline of February 25 (this Friday) to institute this policy or there would be no cyber insurance.
I don’t think the Auditor foresaw that there would be objections to the phone authentication so now the IT contractors were running around trying to get enough fobs for everyone so they can log onto their computers at work. Commissioner Hasty became angry and said this was the first time he head seen this amended policy. He wanted more time to review it.
The Commission decided to table this agenda item.
Commissioner Hasty said the next time the IT Policy was addressed, it should be in a closed session because Camden County’s IT Policy should be confidential. I guess the cat’s out of the bag now, but something like two party authentication is such a pretty basic security measure that most hackers would expect the county to use it so I don’t think it’s too significant.
Unless Camden County was trying to throw off the hackers by not using it. It’s the last thing the hackers would expect. Maybe they would think the Camden County computer network was a giant honeypot and avoid it.
The second agenda item was the Medical Examiner Data Contract. The Medical Examiner service is contracted by Camden County with Southwest Missouri Forensics. Part of the contract includes the cost of data storage for Camden County (I assume for autopsy and toxicology reports?). Commissioner Hasty said Southwest wanted to use Vericue software. I think it’s actually Vera software for secure data storage, but maybe it’s a different company I don’t know about. It sounded like this was going to cost between $4,000 and $5,000 but their previously approved budget already had $10,843 allocated for it so they just needed approval from the Commission.
Commissioner Hasty stated Charlie McElyea had reviewed the contract and told him it was fine.
The Commission voted unanimously to approve the contract.
The third agenda item was the Sheriff’s Victim Program.
This item was presented by a female Sheriff’s detective who handles domestic violence investigations for the Sheriff’s Office. There were also two representatives from Missouri DPS present.
The detective explained that this was a funding program, not a grant. The funding is used to arrange for housing, food, and support for victims and witnesses of violent crimes. The main requirement for this program is that the recipient has to participate in the prosecution of the crime.
During the summer, Camden County sees an increase in these types of crimes and it’s not unusual for the responding deputies to encounter victims and witnesses who need to be relocated for their own safety or welfare. The deputies would then contact the detective who would approve the placement of the victim into a temporary housing location away from the suspect. Missouri DPS would reimburse the Sheriff’s Office for the expense.
The DPS representatives explained that there is currently $2,000,000 in state funding dedicated to the program. For all of Missouri? That doesn’t seem like it would go very far. The program encourages participation in the criminal prosecution and requires a safety plan for the victim or witness. It’s not a binding commitment for Camden County and once the money runs out, it’s not available until the next fiscal year.
Commissioner Hasty then began talking at length about the upcoming opioid settlement, but said he couldn’t yet disclose how much money Camden County would be receiving from it. He discussed plans to possibly use a building that is available to the county as transitional housing for these types of victims, but I won’t mention any more about it since we probably don’t want domestic violence suspects knowing where their victims might be living. The DPS ladies and the detective listened politely.
The Commission eventually approved participation in this funding program unanimously. The detective did an excellent job presenting the program to the Commission.
The next agenda item was for Sheriff’s grants.
These grants needed Commission approval for the department to apply for them. The grants were:
DWI Enforcement Grant for $47,000
DWI Saturation Grant for $3,600
Hazardous Motor Vehicle Enforcement Grant for $3,600
There was no page for anyone to sign on the grant documents and this was the first time the Commissioners had seen these grant applications. Sheriff Helms mentioned that the Enforcement grant did not reflect the new higher salary for his deputies. Commissioner Gohagan then left the room for approximately five minutes and the meeting paused. Gohagan then came back in and told the Sheriff’s representatives that he was tired of them bringing grant requests to the Commission with no advance notice. He needed time to review the documents and he wasn’t inclined to sign anything without having time to review the document. He wanted the grant applications tabled until they could be corrected and reviewed. He did not seem happy.
This agenda item was tabled until Thursday.
The final agenda item was for the Road and Bridge bid approvals. I’m not going to go through all of the approvals again for your sanity and mine. Commissioner Hasty said the bid approval summary will be attached to the meeting minutes so if you have a burning desire to know who got the contracts for Road and Bridge plow blades, you can find it there.
The highlights were:
Brenneke Construction won the Willow Creek Bridge contract for $295,144. They were the lowest bid.
Howe Company won the engineering contract. They are currently contracted for engineering by Camden County.
Friscoe Fuel won the diesel, fuel and gasoline contract.
Rental equipment and tires were tabled.
And that was that.