Basic government services in some government offices in Miami County were still on hold Monday after a massive server crash more than a week ago knocked out email access and computer systems for the third time this year.

The crash hit July 24, shutting down the courthouse’s email and disrupting the software program used by the courts, prosecutor’s office and county clerk.

Miami County Clerk Tawna Leffel-Sands said her department has been unable to send out child-support checks or take payments for traffic citations since the crash.

“We’re going to have a mess to clean up when the servers are restored, and that’s going to take us a long time,” she said Monday.

The crash marks the third time this year the county’s servers have failed and severely disrupted the day-to-day business at the courthouse. Issues with the servers created similar problems in February and April.

Prosecutor Bruce Embrey told Miami County commissioners Monday the crashes have disrupted government work for more than four weeks in total this year.

He criticized commissioners and the county’s IT department for not taking steps to permanently fix the problem after the second server crash in April.

“I’m amazed that this is happening for the third time,” he said. “I’ve never heard of any company having this much down time because of server problems.”

And it could happen again, said IT director John Evans.

Even after the servers are restored, he said, another crash could happen at any time unless the county spends at least $10,000 to purchase more data storage.

Commissioners earlier this year hired an outside IT consulting firm to audit the county’s technology services. The audit report completed July 18 found several problems, including outdated software and insufficient storage space.

Commissioners said they’re waiting for another report from the consulting firm detailing a comprehensive, long-term fix to the county’s problems before taking steps to upgrade its technology.

Evans agreed that commissioners should wait for the report before spending money.

“I’m not a fan at throwing money at a fix that’s not going to be long term,” he said. “Throwing a few thousand dollars to get us by for a year isn’t really a good solution. If we’re spending money, it needs to fit into our long-term goals as well.”

Commissioner Josh Francis said they would likely have to ask for additional money from the Miami County Council to pay for the technology upgrades.

©2014 the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.)