Commissioners considering a new communication system

DOWAGIAC — Cass County is looking at updating its email technology.

During Thursday’s upcoming Cass County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board is scheduled to discuss changing the county government’s email system. Currently, the county uses the Zimbra email platform, as provided by Xmission.com. Due to issues with the platform, county employees are asking that the board of commissioners approve the purchase of a new email system, such as Microsoft Office 365. The total cost of a switch to a new system could cost $108,864, according to information provided by Kerry Collins, information systems director for the county, at last week’s board meeting where the issue was discussed.

Interruptions with the system have been ongoing since November 2018, according to Collins. The latest issues with the current system began on Dec. 26, 2018. The problems are preventing county employees and other users from accessing email and seeing shared calendars. The issues are also kicking users off of the email system.

“Email has grown into something we cannot skimp on anymore,” Collins said. “We have to do this.”

Chief Judge Susan Dobrich called the email issue “an emergency,” as court officials have missed meetings and essential correspondence, such as court hearing announcements, has not gone through.

“We are unable to operate in many respects,” she said. “We have important business we have to conduct. Right now, we cannot conduct business. Email is critical. … We want a new system.”

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz agreed.

“This is a really serious matter,” he said. “We need to have something that works. … If we don’t get a police report from the sheriff’s office or my attorneys can’t access what the sheriff’s department provides on the system, bad things will happen.”

Though Collins acknowledged the expense of an email system switch, he said that switching to Microsoft Office 365 is the right choice for the county as it establishes a software standard that matches what the state of Michigan uses, exposes employees to the latest software technologies and allows the county to focus training on a single version of software. He added that with Microsoft Office 365, not only would the county be getting email services, but it would also be able to update to the latest versions of other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Word.

“Is it expensive? It has a cost to it,” he said. “It is a part of doing business.”

The Cass County Board of Commissioners will meet Thursday at 120 N. Broadway St., Cassopolis. A Committee of the Whole meeting will take place at 4 p.m., followed by the regular board meeting at 7 p.m.

Education

EPS reports no threat to students following report of suspicious individual

Berrien County

LMC supports Biden’s plan for free community college

Dowagiac

Mobile medical unit providing free ultrasound, STD testing

Berrien County

Niles man, Buchanan woman share experiences from COVID-19 vaccine clinics

Business

Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce celebrates business award winners

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: April 30-May2

Dowagiac

Dowagiac National Guard Hosts Food Truck Muster

Brandywine Education

Tri-County Head Start planning new Cass County facility

Cass County

Cass County commissioners support four-year terms

Berrien County

Broadband survey finds lack of access for Berrien County residents

Cass County

COA partners with health department to deliver vaccines to homebound residents

News

Local EMS to deploy COVID-19 treatments in-house to high risk patients

Berrien County

Niles MSP post searches for missing man

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien, Van Buren counties report new COVID-19 deaths

Buchanan

Buchanan woman named junior member of American Angus Association

Berrien County

Berrien County Conservation District hosting native plant sale

Cass County

Cass County Fair to host Spring Fling Campout

Dowagiac

Town and Country Garden Club to host annual plant sale

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac elementary students thank nurses during National Nurses Week

Edwardsburg

Biggby Coffee location opens in Edwardsburg

News

Fort St. Joseph archaeology virtual camps coming this summer

Business

Two new businesses receive ribbon-tying ceremonies from Dowagiac chamber

News

Niles Renaissance Faire returns May 15 to Plym Park

Cass County

Cassopolis man injured in shooting at Constantine little league game