Anne Arundel government e-mail on the mend

Anne Arundel County shut down its government e-mail system for the weekend, after it was plagued with delays for several days.

The system was shut down at 5 p.m. Friday, and county information technology workers planned to spend the weekend fixing the system.

In a statement, County Executive Laura Neuman Neuman described the problem as "ongoing and progressing delays" with e-mail and other computer applications. Neuman said she hopes the problems can be fixed by Sunday.

This week, county workers and elected officials have had problems with the system, including messages that never showed up in inboxes or arrived hours after they were sent.

County Council Chairman Jerry Walker said it's a terrible time to lose e-mail, as council members consider changes to the county's budget for next year. Council members are expected to finalize the budget on Tuesday.

Walker said he often gets dozens of e-mail messages a day from constituents weighing in on the budget or seeking help with problems.

"This couldn't happen at a worse time for the council," Walker said.

Walker said so many people are used to near-instantaneous e-mail to conduct business. "People don't understand how you don't receive an e-mail," he said.

In the County Council office this week, councilmen and staffers switched to printing and faxing documents and making more phone calls.

"It's a huge problem," Walker said.

Neuman blamed the e-mail woes on "the historic lack of commitment to the support of technology" in county government.

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