Technology troubles in Florida county prevent public information access

Wilken's woes. Systems managed by Florida's 15th Circuit clerk of the court Dorothy H. Wilken ran out of hard drive space last month, preventing the public from accessing records such as court judgments, marriage licenses and real estate records. Wilken, who won re-election last month, also faces a lawsuit from a vendor.

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 office in 1993 to provide a customized application that lets the county record, scan and index public information.

Sour grapes? Rod Tennyson, attorney for the 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 had been resolved.

Main Line officials 'didn't want to do that, and they walked out and took their operating manual with them,' he said.

Main Line spokeswoman Veronica Hritz disagreed with this charge. 'We did not walk,' she said.

'Their complaint right now is that they can't enter new records because they have run out of hard drive space,' she said. Hritz said the storage problem 'has nothing to do with our application.'

Code conundrum. Without the operating manual and source code, Tennyson said, the county does not know which records to delete to free up storage space.

The county requested an emergency hearing to have a judge order Main Line to turn over its updated source code to the county.

Judge James Carlisle on Nov. 7 denied the county's motion. He concluded that Main Line did not walk out on the project, but instead the county fired Main Line in September by not renewing the contract.

A trial date has not been set.

'Donna Young

E-mail: [email protected]


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