www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-laura-neuman-20130313,0,5905182.story

baltimoresun.com

Neuman can look forward to high-tech office as A.A. county exec

11:15 AM EDT, March 13, 2013

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As a retired employee of Anne Arundel County's Office of Information Technology, I read with interest your editorial about newly installed County Executive Laura Neuman ("A breath of fresh air," Feb. 27). Her resume is impressive and it appears she could be very good for the county.

However, there are a few facts that should be clarified. Ms. Neuman said that "there was no computer" in her office when she arrived for her first day on the job. While she is correct, it should be pointed out the lack of a computer on the county executive's desk was because the previous executive didn't want one on his desk or anywhere else in his office.

The computer's absence wasn't due to the OIT's inability to supply or support the county executive's office. The executive offices and staff always received priority, and a desktop or laptop computer would have been supplied without hesitation. The previous executive choose not to use one but instead to have staff members handle computer-related tasks.

There also was mention of the county's outdated email and calendaring system. Ms. Neuman is again correct, but the reason was neither the OIT's lack of desire or ability to supply the county with an up-to-date system. This was one of several budget issues for which funding was never made available.

I retired from the county in 2007, and my understanding is that budget issues stayed the same or got worse thereafter until the current year. Considering the economic climate during those years, budget reductions are understandable.

However, it must be realized that when those who make budget decisions decide not to upgrade the email and calendar systems because the current ones still work — despite being slow and outdated — the OIT had no choice other than continue working with what was provided.

I think Ms. Neuman and her newly appointed chief information officer, Richard Durkee, will find the OIT staff to be a devoted, hard working and innovated group, ready and willing to bring the technology of the county offices up to or even ahead of the technology curve when properly budgeted and staffed.

Rick Schimpf, Pasadena

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