Clerk's technology troubles affect public information access

Clerk's technology troubles affect public information access

By Donna Young,

GCN Staff

OCT. 23 -Florida's 15th Circuit Clerk of the Court Dorothy H. Wilken ran out of hard drive space this month. She cannot provide the public with computerized records and has a lawsuit pending. She is also up for re-election Nov. 7.

Wilken's troubles began in June when Main Line Corp. of Jupiter, Fla., filed a suit alleging the Palm Beach County Clerk's Office gave two vendors -Information Systems Corp. of Boca Raton, Fla., and Syscom Inc. of Baltimore -unlawful access to Main Line's proprietary source code.

Main Line contracted with the clerk's office in 1993 to provide a customized application that lets the county record, scan and index public information.

Rod Tennyson, attorney for the Clerk's Office, said Main Line filed the suit in retaliation for not winning a contract to design the county's new Web page. "Everything fell apart when the contract was awarded to someone else, and you have to question the timing of the suit," Tennyson said.

Main Line's yearly contract was up for renewal Sept. 30, but Tennyson said the county decided to offer only a day-to-day contract until the lawsuit was resolved. "They didn't want to do that, and they walked out and took their operating manual with them," he said.

But Main Line's spokeswoman, Veronica Hritz, disagreed. "We did not walk," Hritz said. "Their complaint right now is that they can't enter new records because they have run out of hard drive space." She said the storage problem "has nothing to do with our application."

Tennyson said that without the operation manual, the county does not know which records to delete to free up storage space.

A hearing for both sides to present evidence is set for Nov. 6 before Judge James Carlisle.

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