The Baltimore City Council’s budget committee voted Thursday to approve $10 million to cover the information technology department’s costs to recover from a ransomware attack that brought down city computer networks.
More than half the money has already been spent on consultants, equipment and overtime pay, and the legislation is being fast-tracked so it can be finalized at the council’s next meeting in August.
City officials disclosed last week that they have so far spent $2.8 million hiring security consultants and other companies; $486,000 on technicians to set up new computers; $112,000 on overtime for city staff, and $1.9 million on new hardware and software. At Thursday’s hearing, IT department officials said invoices were still coming in.
Although the committee agreed to forward the legislation to the council for consideration, Democratic Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer said he wanted more information before he would vote in favor of the money on the floor. He requested copies of invoices and details about how the remaining funds would be spent.
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“You could buy the neighborhood I grew up in for $10 million," Schleifer said.
Democratic Councilman Eric Costello, the committee chairman, used the hearing to press the city’s IT leaders on whether they had a written disaster response plan before the attack. After being asked several times, IT director Frank Johnson acknowledged they did not, something the mayor’s office has previously acknowledged.