- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The Fairbanks North Star Borough is contemplating a $2.6 million update to its record-keeping system, a move that will force the digitization of a warehouse full of boxes.

Hewlett-Packard reportedly stopped manufacturing hardware for the borough’s financial management system in 2008.

One municipal employee joked to borough information technology director Jim Cobb that the government will soon need to go on eBay to get replacement parts.

“We have been aware of this situation for years,” Cobb told the assembly. “It won’t be any fun if the current system that we have fails.”

The current records management system uses three types of software that are not integrated and must be used separately for functions involving paper records, scanned records and electronic records, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (https://bit.ly/1qEgzhW).

A proposed ordinance before the borough assembly would pay for new hardware, software, vendor support and eight temporary employees.

The project would involve eight senior municipal employees working with a vendor to prepare, tailor and test the new technology systems. The temps would help in five departments: financial services, purchasing, payroll, the clerk’s office and computer services.

The entry-level jobs would last two years, though for now the assembly is being asked to fund the positions for six months. The positions are union jobs involving full benefits.

Cobb wants to digitize records so specific documents can be called up on a computer screen. Certain historic documents would still be kept in paper form, according to the clerk’s office.

“It’s going to be an evolutionary process,” Cobb said. “Now is the time to act.”

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