MORRIS – An agreement with Eric Peterson making him the county’s technology consultant was positively recommended Tuesday by the Grundy County Technology and Elections Committee, but not before concerns about the contract were raised during public comment.
County Clerk Lana Phillips addressed the committee as a member of the public, stating her objections to the proposed contract with Peterson.
“My feeling is there is very little accountability with a consultant if they’re just coming in and consulting and doing things on a part-time basis,” Phillips said. “You would not have that issue if you had a full-time IT director.”
Phillips said the technology committee has trimmed its budget and is no longer paying a $75,000 salary plus benefits to John Watters – the previous director who retired in January – so it can afford to hire a full-time director.
She also claimed the county already has two IT consultants working part time, which technology committee chairman David Welter disputed.
“Do we really need another consultant?” she asked.
The concerns were heard, but the committee still voted, 6-0, to approve the contract with Peterson.
“I think this will give the county flexibility and allows us to save money by not having someone full time,” Welter said following the meeting. “Hopefully, it will help us streamline some of our processes as well.”
According to the most recent draft of the agreement, Peterson would work no more than 96 hours a month at a price of $5,500 a month. For every hour worked beyond the 96-hour threshold, Peterson would charge the county $65 an hour.
The initial contract would expire in six months, during which time Peterson would oversee the technology department’s budget and special projects and help make processes and procedures within the department more efficient.
He also would be on call in case one of the current technology employees needed time off.
There would be no changes in management with the addition of Eric Peterson, as current full-time IT supervisors Kristin Torkelson and Dan Peterson would still report to County Administrator Heidi Miller.
The contract will go before the full County Board for a second time next month after it is reviewed by the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office.
It was tabled during this month’s board meeting, after the technology committee decided it needed more discussion.