Commissioners applaud county department’s negotiating skills

The Lycoming County commissioners approved three professional services agreements totaling $237,836 Thursday for server and hardware upgrades as well as additional licensing from information technology specialists Arraya Solutions.

That price is less than half of what the Department of Information Services expected to spend for these services at the start of their 2018 budget season, said Jerry Kennedy, deputy director of the department.

When the department started to narrow down what it would need and the cost of those needs last March, Kennedy said it estimated spending nearly $550,000 for the upgrades and licensing. Over time, he said he was able to negotiate the price down to about $300,000, which was reflected in the finalized 2018 budget.

At the commissioners meeting Tuesday, he presented the service agreements with a total cost of $239,118.

After the commissioners expressed concern that the price still was too high, Kennedy negotiated an additional 5 percent savings by Thursday’s meeting, bringing the final total to $237,936.

“We did do our due diligence before. Then we went back and we got a little more,” Kennedy said.

He added that the cost includes hardware support for three years, which presents another $3,000 in savings over time.

“Sometimes we ask our employees to go beyond,” said Commissioner Tony Mussare. “Even a 2-percent discount would not be minimal. We see this in many of our departments now; they are negotiating as much as they can. I want to thank you for your efforts in saving the taxpayers over $1,000 (from Tuesday’s price).”

Leslie Kilpatrick, also of the Department of Information Services, brought another hefty savings before the commissioners.

The commissioners approved her request for a three-year internet agreement totaling $1,714 per month with Windstream. Previously, the county was paying $3,724 per month, presenting a $2,010 monthly savings.

“You deserve accolades for that,” Commissioner Rick Mirabito told Kilpatrick.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Accepted a $5,000 donation from the Red Run Rod and Gun Club. Both the Adult Probation Office and the sheriff’s department will receive $2,500 to be used for equipment as thanks for their work in cleaning up after recent flooding.

• Approved a $30,000 grant to the Community Alliance for Progressive Positive Action for youth programming. The funds will come from the designated outside agencies’ budget.

• Approved an agreement totaling $23,015 with Cleveland Brothers Equipment Company Inc. for new replacement undercarriage repair parts for a dozer at the landfill. The work will be done in-house.

• Hired Richard Boyer as a full-time replacement equipment operator for Resource Management Services at $15.22 per hour, effective Tuesday.