New contract expected to save Lee County taxpayers money
Thirty seconds will save Lee County taxpayers almost $2.5 million. When county commissioners consider a new information technology maintenance and support contract today, they will stand to save taxpayers more than $9 million over the next five years.

Fuente:    Fecha:  09.11.2009

“We’re very excited about the savings,” Assistant County Manager Holly Schwartz said.

Schwartz negotiated the new deal with Atos Origin, the French company that’s had the contract for the past five years. The old annual cost of just under $8.5 million is being reduced to just under $6.8 million.

A big chunk of the savings comes from simply giving Atos more time to answer the phone. It cost the county $892,235 a year to have someone respond from the help desk in 60 seconds. Having that response within 90 seconds instead will cost $412,235.

The negotiations took place with Clerk of Courts Charlie Green standing in the wings saying he could do the job and save the county big bucks.

Green raised a stink when a county committee found his information technology staff “unqualified” to negotiate for the contract in August. Green, who provides payroll and everyday bill-paying services for the county already, said he could do the IT work, too.

“I’m happy about the savings,” Green said. “The objective all along was to save the county money.”

Green said he thought he could provide similar savings without affecting the service.

“But I have no ax to grind,” he said. “We wanted them to save money and they are.”

Schwartz said that savings also came from reducing the project-specific payments. After five years on the job, Atos has things running smoothly, she said, and major projects or upgrades shouldn’t be necessary. She said the county can always add to the contract if it becomes necessary.

“They’ve gotten the majority of those things done and we’re running smoothly,” she said.

The Atos workers will also work in county offices instead of renting space, saving another $252,000 annually. The company also agreed to cut $183,359 off its annual profit margin.

It was good to have Green making his proposal, Schwartz said, because it showed everyone - Atos negotiators included - there are options.

“It’s always good to have that input whoever it’s from,” she said. “It was expected by everyone there was going to be savings. It wasn’t going to show until the negotiations.” Earlier this summer county commissioners rejected a two-year contract extension with Atos, opting instead to go through the process again and look for savings.

Commissioners will consider the new contract during their meeting today. The meeting takes place at 9:30 a.m. at the Old Lee County Courthouse in downtown Fort Myers.