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More than two years after purchasing a $737,000 computer system for the Circuit Court clerk's office, Rutherford County is putting the project on hold because of a nightmare installation, according to officials.
"After consultation between the Circuit Court clerk, county mayor and Information Technology department, the county has suspended use of the new software due to problems with daily functions," Brian Robertson, director of Rutherford County's Office of Information Technology, said in a written statement.
Starting in September, clerk's office personnel were plagued by information downloading, slow searches and the difficulty of bringing it online while serving the public. Initially, the county expected to complete the project eight to nine months ago, but it proved to be more complex than expected.
County officials declined to say whether they will drop the new system from Utah-based NewDawn Technologies and try another one or take legal action against the company to try to get back any money spent.
"We are carefully evaluating all options that may be available. Until our evaluation is complete, we are not in a position to comment further," Robertson said in the statement.
Under the direction of one-term Circuit Court Clerk Laura Bohling, Rutherford County purchased the Windows-based system for $737,000 in September 2012 from NewDawn to replace the General Services Automated system the clerk's office had used since the 1980s when the late Bob Suddarth was in office.
It went live when new Circuit Court Clerk Melissa Harrell replaced Bohling in September.
The idea was to cut yearly costs by purchasing a system the county could control. Rutherford County was paying GSA a $126,000 annual maintenance fee, through several different offices, courts and departments, to access its own data. Under the new contract, it paid $58,605 in fiscal 2013, $61,492 for the past year and $64,566 for 2014-15 with the potential for that rate to increase 5 percent annually, according to the Office of Information and Technology.
But the county also hired a person, at a salary of about $50,000, specifically to work on the NewDawn installation because of its complexity.