Athens Review, Athens, Texas

September 17, 2013

County OKs software system

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Henderson County Commissioners Court approved a contract with Plano-based Tyler Technologies on Tuesday for a judicial software package that will replace the one the county has used for 15 years.

The new Odyssey software package will cost $984,988, to be paid out in increments over an 18-month period.

County Judge Richard Sanders said, depending on how quickly the county departments are able to merge the data to the new system, there could be price breaks from the quoted amount.

The 9-member County Information Technology Committee, which includes Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin and Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney, is unanimous in support of the Tyler Technologies Odyssey system.

“This is the culmination of a 2-year process,” McKinney said. “It is a process that has been lengthy and it has been thorough.”

McKinney explained the importance of the software to the operations of the county.

“The process begins at the jail when someone is arrested and the case begins building from there,” McKinney said. “It starts in the automated system. Then it moves up to the prosecution and to the ending point at the court.”

Of the county’s 350 or so employees, McKinney said, 265 will be using the judicial software.

“It is, in my opinion, the most important system that we have,” McKinney said.

Geeslin said the county had no choice but to make the software change, because tech support on the existing AbleTerm software ended with the last legislative session. Geeslin said the county got the maximum amount of life out of the AbleTerm software.

“Two years from now, if we do not upgrade the system, whatever the legislature hands down as legal requirements will not be put into the system,” Geeslin said. “It would put our county at a serious disadvantage in working with state-mandated policies.”

Odyssey is an integrated justice software that has attracted numerous counties around the state.  Kaufman County was the first in the state to convert to Odyssey. Smith and Anderson County areas are also getting ready to make the move. 

IT Director Josh Brock led the commissioners through a presentation of the software at a workshop on Sept. 12. With the integrated system, all of the departments involved in the judicial system in the county can have seamless digital communication.

In other action, Commissioners approved:

• allowing the purchase of snacks for employees during the Open Enrollment Health Fair;

• entering into a contract in the amount of $16,500 to maintain the Victim Information & Notification Everyday program;

• setting a speed limit of 35 miles-per-hour on County Road 4530, off Farm-to-Market-Road 2588; and

• payment of bills in the amount of $100,269.02.