Potter County, Texas, Pays Overtime Following IT Virus

The Potter County Commissioners Court has approved $127,800 in overtime pay after public employees in April were forced to grapple with an IT virus that caused system outages in the jurisdiction.

by Douglas Clark, Amarillo Globe-News / June 25, 2019

(TNS) — In the wake of Potter County, Texas, departments and workers continuing efforts to navigate through system outages stemming from an April Information Technology virus, the Potter County Commissioners' Court on Monday approved $127,800 in overtime pay. During the regular meeting the Court voted 5-0 in favor of a temporary exception to the overtime policy allowing overtime pay in place of compensatory time for departments during the data recovery process from the IT malware incident.

According to Potter County's Overtime Policy & Procedure Manual, subject to the availability of budgeted funds within the county's budget, county employees are eligible to be paid at the overtime rate for hours worked outside of normally-scheduled work hours if the work is necessary because of an emergency or otherwise urgent and unanticipated need. County officials previously noted the viral attack impacted the court system, including the offices at the Santa Fe Building, as well as the Potter County Detention Center and mental health patient intake. The virus also affected persons conducting business at the district and county clerks office, per officials, adding no personal data was compromised.

Judge Nancy Tanner noted, via an email response to inquiries, with benefits the overtime amount would be approximately $160,000, adding the time frame spans from the initial date of the incident in April until all data is entered. Tanner added the county's Human Resources department and Sheriff's Office remain incomplete and anticipates the work would be done in few weeks. The departments receiving overtime pay are IT, District Clerk, Human Resources, the Tax Office and Sheriff's Office.

"The first thing we had to do was get all of our inmates (information) put back in and that was done pretty quickly," Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said, commending all who have assisted with the restoration. "Now we're working on warrants. We've got to go through all of our 10,000 warrants just to see if they are in the system or not. If they are not in there we have to put those in manually."

Tanner did not have an established timetable for the county IT system returning to normalcy, but categorized the restoration process as remaining in the recovery phase.

©2019 Amarillo Globe-News, Texas. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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