Weatherford Democrat

Local News

July 23, 2012

Commissioner court puts off software buy, considers other

PARKER COUNTY — Parker County commissioners, contemplating an essential software purchase described as a “huge investment” by Information Technology Director Trish Radford, declined to approve an upgrade to the county’s current system Thursday, per Radford’s recommendation, in order to consider software offered by a competing firm.

The unanimous vote, taken after a presentation by Willow Park resident Jeff Gloor, of NETDATA, authorizes the purchasing department to work with IT to develop a Request for Proposals.

Explaining that Tyler Technologies is phasing out technical support for the Tyler Able Term software purchased by the county for $1.2 million 10 years ago, Radford asked the court to move on to Able Term’s successor, Odyssey, saying the product is Windows-based and offers a lot more features.

“By the end of 2013 we’ll be losing quite a bit of our support, and by 2016, all the support will be gone,” she said. “We’ve talked about this and demo-ed it twice in the last four years.”

Radford said all the county offices had asked her to recommend the product.

She said the sheriff’s office was looking at other products, but felt they would be compatible with her recommendation.

“We’re asking the court to give permission to go to Tyler, get their best pricing and try to move forward with this project. They’re on a contract where we don’t have to go out for an RFP. We’re running out of time, and it will take a year to do this project,” Radford said.

The sheriff’s office has not been supportive of the upgrade to Odyssey.

In a June court session, Lt. Mark Arnett said Able Term’s performance has been unsatisfactory from the beginning. He said law enforcement was looking at other products to improve their records management.

Thursday, Arnett reported that the sheriff’s office had met with several vendors and had more appointments scheduled.

Gloor, of NETDATA, assumed the court’s podium with a thick packet of newspaper clippings and e-mails from Texas judges, clerks and JPs, all critical of Odyssey and/or supportive of NETDATA.

He urged commissioners to contact officials in surrounding counties and ask if they were happy with Odyssey software.

“Call down to Anderson County and ask them if they got what they expected from a $3 million or $4 million decision,” he said.

Gloor said NETDATA was in 80 Texas counties, some the same size as Parker County.

“And the deal is we’re about half the cost of Odyssey,” he said. “I have never charged in the history of NETDATA for an upgrade.

“If you keep your annual maintenance and support, what we do is keep your product updated.”

Radford disputed some of Gloor’s claims and said NETDATA could not meet the county’s needs 10 years ago.

Commissioner Dusty Renfro asked Gloor to supply some references.

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