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Grundy County director of technology retires Friday

Published: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 2:56 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – J.P. Watters has served as the Grundy County director of technology since 2004, but the nine-year county employee recently announced he is retiring from the position.

“I have a retirement option that surfaced and it’s a wonderful opportunity so I’m going to take it,” Watters said.

Watter’s last day was Friday.

The Grundy County Technology/Elections Committee met Friday night in a special meeting to discuss what will happen with the vacant position, but was unable to reveal any details about the future of the county’s technology department at the time.

“He’s always been here and we think we’ll probably see him around every once and a while,” said Ron Severson, Grundy County Board chairman. “I suspect that when the siren goes at two o’clock in the morning, [Watters] will probably walk in here.”

The committee will recommend a plan for the position to the Personnel Committee at a future meeting. The Personnel Committee will review the plan and make further recommendations to the full county board.

Severson said it will be a few months before any action is taken in regards to the position. Until then, Severson said the current technology department employees will “step up” and bear the extra workload.

Watters said he has full confidence in the technology department’s ability to continue without him.

“I believe the staff has a good plan, and the board, of course, has the final plan,” Watters said

In 1997, Watters began his career with the county as a contractor for the late Sheriff James Olson, but transitioned to Director of Technology in 2004. During that time, Watters maintained and improved the county’s computing systems and assisted with elections, taxes and vital records.

“Basically, if the computers had wires on them, we were responsible to make them function,” Watters said. “We took it from computers with dial-up Internet to a corporate network with servers.”

Before working with the county, Watters owned a wireless company and had a 20-year career with ComEd.

Watters said he had a positive experience while he was at the county.

“It’s a wonderful place. The best asset is the people,” Watters said. “We have a great group of elected officials that work well together.”

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