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City IT department stays busy
Online security, system upgrades in the works
city IT report pic
Shown is the Great Bend City Council meeting Monday night. The streaming of council meetings is one of the tasks handled by the Information Technology Department.

“To develop and maintain a highly effective, reliable, secure, and innovative information system for all end users. To facilitate a seamless integration between end users and the technology they use.”

The mission statement of the City of Great Bend’s Information Technology Department sounds simple. But, IT Director James Cell told the city council Monday night there are a lot of moving parts involved in keeping the city’s tech working.

Cell gave an update on IT as part of a series of reports to the council from city departments. These have taken place over the past three meetings.

Below is a recap of Cell’s report:

Duties and responsibilities

• Supporting, configuring, maintaining and upgrading city department networks and in-house servers.

• Installing and integrating new server hardware and applications.

• Running needed updates for PCs and servers.

• Support and administer third-party applications.

• Ensure network security and connectivity.

• Monitor network performance and test for weaknesses.

• Set up user accounts, permissions and passwords.

Departments supported

The IT Department is a staff of one, supporting nine departments across 14 locations within the city. 

Departments involved include:

• Administration and Finance

• Fire Station

• Police Department

• Utility Billing

• Water Treatment Plant

• Public Works

• Public Lands

• Municipal Court. 

Locations involved: City Hall, Fire Stations 1 and 2, Police Department, Utility Billing, Water Treatment Plant, Public Works, Cemetery, Zoo, Events Center, Municipal Court, Airport, Water Park and Great Bend Sport Complex.

Projects completed

• Upgraded servers for City Hall and Fire Department.

• Replaced outdated PCs in several departments.

• Upgraded PCs to Windows 10.

• Upgraded Email to Office365.

• Upgraded firewalls – everyone on same model for consistency.

• Upgraded switches for Front Door and Street Department.

• Upgraded wi-fi for Fire Stations 1 and 2. 

• Upgraded wi-fi for Police Department.

• Upgraded wi-fi for Water Treatment. 

• Upgraded wi-fi for Public Works.

• Upgraded FundBalance for Finance and Utility Billing.

• Setup online payment for Utility billing.

• Upgraded point-of-sale system for Zoo

• Cleaned up cabling and put in ethernet ports at City Hall and Fire Department.

• Ran fiber between Fire Station 1 and City Hall.

• Cleaned up cabling at Front Door.

• Created inventory lists of PCs, switches and ports.

• Fiber connected for Fire Station 2.

• Changed phone plan from Nex-Tech Wireless to Verizon.

Current projects  

• Fiber connectivity to City Hall, Police Department and Fire Station 1.

• Getting Servers upgraded at Police Department.

• Creating logins for fire department employees to get rid of generic logins for better security.

• Security awareness training and phishing awareness – ongoing throughout the year.

Projects in January-March

• Laserfiche for archiving and document management. 

• Bring kiosk for cemetery Online: Online service for searching via tablet, and online service for searching via mobile devices.

• Increasing deployment of portable devices for use by city personnel in the field.

• Work on video/streaming for council meetings.

Looking ahead

• Work to get fiber at Water Treatment Plant, Public Works, Cemetery and Zoo in 2020-2021.

• Upgrade SCALA equipment in 2020.

• Work with Water Treatment on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system 2020.

• Setup new location for switch and network for Water Treatment in 2020.

IT equipment maintenance schedule

• Replace PCs every five years on a rotating schedule per department or as needed.

• Replace servers for City Hall, Fire Department and Police Department every five to seven years or as needed.

• Replace Firewalls every five to seven years or as needed.

• Replace Switches every five to seven years or as needed.

Goals for IT Department

• Match IT skill sets to business needs.

• Aligns IT staff skills with available technologies.

• Improve staff collaboration across the city.

• Increase employee access to information.

• Continue security awareness for the city.

• Making sure departments are compliant during audits.

• Conduct third-party security audits/assessments.

• Align IT investments with highest priority needs.

• Continue to work on centralizing the city network.

• Centralize commodity IT purchasing.

• Standardize and stabilize technical infrastructure.

• Consolidate IT infrastructure.

• Develop and annually test disaster recovery plan.

• Hire additional IT staff as needed.


Critical success factors

• Ensure key decision makers buy into the projects.

• To get technical infrastructure current, financially and environmentally sustainable, and secure.

• Review and revise business processes.

• Implement measures to monitor plan  progress.

• Allocate sufficient staffing and funding  resources.