County chooses Airlink to administer email

Thursday, May 19, 2022

A long discussion and consideration process came to an end Monday as the Putnam County Commissioners chose Airlink to administer the county’s email service.

Unifying county email under a single umbrella has been a discussion for several years, but came to a head earlier in 2022 when the Commissioners learned the cyber insurance rates would be out of control if they did not move to county-administered email with multi-factor authentication.

Currently, some offices such as the Sheriff’s Office, Health Department and Prosecutor’s Office, have department-issued emails, while many others use a hodgepodge of addresses from providers such as gmail, Yahoo and Airhop.

The addresses will now be unified under a single domain name — — with better security than is provided by individual, free email.

Airlink was chosen not only for having the lowest annual bid, but in part because D.J. Hendrich of Airlink was in attendance on Monday.

“I make a motion we go with Airlink since they’re here,” Commissioner Tom Helmer said.

President Rick Woodall seconded the motion, which passed 2-0, as Commissioner David Berry was absent on Monday.

Airlink’s bid was for $5 per account per month, plus an annual maintenance fee of $5,760 and an initial implementation fee of $8,170.

Figuring on 220 accounts, that would be $18,960 annually, minus the initial startup fees.

The email will be on the Microsoft Outlook platform.

The other two bids were submitted by Distinct Web Design ($14 per account per month, or $36,960 annually) and Cynergetics ($8 per account per month, or $21,120 annually). All bids were based on 220 users.

Hendrich, who is based locally, emphasized that he is in the courthouse often, performing IT tasks for probably 75 percent of county offices, so he should be nearby for timely maintenance when issues arise.

The startup costs and fee for the remainder of 2022 will come out of the EDIT Warchest. However, the Commissioners and County Council will have to consider how the ongoing fees will be paid when the budget hearings come in late summer.

In other business, the Commissioners:

• Heard a proposal from Eric Dreyfus of Assured Partners, who would like to review the county’s health insurance information, believing his company can save the county money by going away from Anthem.

He noted the lack of transparency in health insurance as a major factor in why some businesses and government entities are moving away from traditional providers.

“A lot of businesses are catching on to the fact and going a different direction,” Dreyfus said.

The Commissioners would like more time to consider and perhaps look into Dreyfus’s references before moving forward with anything.

• Signed a contract with HWC Engineering to write the county’s new comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance.

The Commissioners had previously chosen HWC during a March meeting, but Monday’s action made it official. The plans are coming at a cost of $173,000.

• Heard from several residents of County Road 75 North of a driveway collapse and the likely road problems that go along with it.

The residence in question is at the bottom of Waterworks Hill where 75 North runs northeast of U.S. 231.

The pipe under the driveway recently collapsed when a delivery truck drove over it. However, a contractor came in to examine the damage with a camera and found cavities that went under the roadway.

The homeowners fear a catastrophic collapse is coming, noting that the road is often used by motorists who wish to bypass crashes on U.S. 231 at the bottom of the hill.

No decisions were made on Monday, but tied up in the discussion was the lack of a county policy for dealing with collapsed pipes on driveways as well as the county practice of waiting for a road to fail before it is fixed.

Set to meet in special session on Thursday, the Commissioners were going to consider a solution at that time.

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  • Every other IT company trying to work for the county might as well stop bidding, your wasting your time. John Hendrich, owner of Air-Linx (not Airlinks) is old pals with a few of these county officials, judges, commissioners, etc. It seems like it was the plan all along to have him run the county email. The bidding was just a show to make it look impartial. I bet his bid was the last one to come in, and look at that, it was about 2k cheaper than the next lowest bidder, what a deal! I guess we have to give the contract to him!

    That also happened a few years ago when they re-wired the computer network at the courthouse. First, the commissioners got two bids and made them public. Then a few months later, Hendrich makes a bid that's less than half the price of the lowest bidder. Mainly because he used a lot of existing wiring. Did the other two get to re-bid for the project using the old wiring? Nope! Contract goes to Hendrich Sorry to the others for wasting your time. We don't need to check with anyone else if there's a lower price.

    It definitely has the appearance of the commissioners handing contracts to their friends and pretending like there was a fair bidding process.

    If I worked for a county office, I wouldn't use that email. Think about it- John Hendrich is gonna have access to every email on those addresses. Hope you don't mind him being able to read everything you send and receive. He could possibly use the info to help himself or a friend, or maybe someone will call in a favor.

    -- Posted by Raker on Fri, May 20, 2022, at 7:50 AM
  • *

    Human nature, Raker... it's why we can't have nice governments.

    This has been going on for YEARS... County and Town.

    I remember when another connected person (whose brother was someone) just happened to get the county computer work close to 20 years ago.

    30 years ago it used to be you couldn't get a Town job (especially street department) unless you were connected. And they paid very well.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Sat, May 21, 2022, at 6:17 PM
  • So, in other words, never do business local or with someone you know. Oh, and base that on assumptions!

    I am in!

    -- Posted by beg on Mon, May 23, 2022, at 11:40 PM
  • Distinct Web Design and Cynergetics are both in Putnam County. Playbook failure

    -- Posted by Raker on Thu, May 26, 2022, at 9:00 AM
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