Weatherford Democrat

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May 16, 2013

County OKs software contract; approves medical plans

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Parker County Commissioners on Monday awarded a contract for new software for the sheriff’s office and approved two health care options for county employees.

The court awarded the software contract to SunGard, which offered a best and final bid of $969,617 for the computer-aided dispatch, mobile data computer and law enforcement/fire records management system, Purchasing Agent Deena Nichols said.

The low bid for the new system was $515,726 from Tyler Technologies, with the high bid from ICS Integrated Computer Systems for $1,249,758.

The county attorney, purchasing office, IT department and county judge will negotiate the final contract, with the auditor tasked to work on the implementation schedule and financing.

After a lengthy review, SunGard was the choice of a committee made up of representatives from the sheriff’s office, fire marshal’s office, IT office, attorney’s office, auditor’s office and purchasing office, Nichols said, with the decision based mainly on the functionality of the software.

In a meeting last month, Lt. Mark Arnett called efficiency the main issue for the sheriff’s office and said SunGard was “head and shoulders above” the other contenders.

The new medical plans, which will take effect Jan. 1, were recommended by the Public Employee Benefits Cooperative (PEBC), which is assisting counties as they begin to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

The Act requires everyone have access to health care, but it also effectively limits the amount of coverage that an employer can provide.

As a result of the Act, the county’s Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) Plan — used by less than 30 employees — will be eliminated due to its future costs, Employee Benefits Coordinator Jenny Gentry said.

The two new options will be an enhanced Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan — most employees have a PPO plan now — and an Account-Based High-Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA).

An HSA belongs to the employee and can roll over every year, County Attorney John Forrest said. It stays with an individual even if the employee terminates his or her employment.

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