The City of Vermilion has been seeking an IT Coordinator for several months. While the position had been offered to two different candidates, both turned it down for other opportunities. In the course of interviews, an alternative solution made itself known to the mayor.
“I think it is the best possible solution that I wish I had known was available when we began the search,” stated Mayor Forthofer at the Vermilion City Council Meeting on October 7, 2019. “And, for the same cost to the city.”
The mayor explained to City Council that the cost of hiring a single person to be the IT Coordinator, at a salary of $65,000 plus benefits/equipment, was estimated in total at about $100,000. For that same amount, LifeCare Ambulance would perform the duties with their three person IT Department.
The mayor explained that LifeCare Ambulance would do three things for the city over a three-year period.
“One is getting on top of the city’s immediate needs and identifying what equipment is needed and laying out a strategic course for the future,” said the mayor. “Over the course of these three years, LifeCare will be hiring an additional person to help carry the load servicing Vermilion’s internet support. At the end of the three years, there may be an option for the city to hire this IT person from LifeCare. By that time they will be familiar with what Vermilion’s IT needs are.”
The mayor sated LifeCare Ambulance Service has been nothing but accommodating and is providing the highest integrity service, so he feels totally comfortable with this previously unforeseen opportunity.
Mayor Forthofer said the three people on LifeCare will set up a similar situation of what the city currently has. There will be a ticket system if there is a problem, but if it’s a system solution they can also turn their attention to that.
Amy Hendricks, Finance Director, said they have assured the city some definite face-time on a regular basis through the week, so they will be in the city and circulating the buildings.
“This will make people more comfortable with the ticketing system for the Help Desk,” stated Hendricks.
Mayor Forthofer added they will help the city source new computers and will take inventory of what the city has to see what works and doesn’t, and what needs replaced.
John Gabriel, Council Member, said that financially this was good news for the city and they’re at a place where they can afford this, and at the very minimum at the end of this contract it puts the city in a position to start fresh with better equipment. He said LifeCare has familiarity with government and the bidding process with equipment, so he’s not opposed to this in any way. He thought it was overdue and it’s a place where they have had a shortcoming. Hendricks said there have been close calls to full meltdowns.
The mayor asked council so support legislation to contract with LifeCare for IT services.
Steve Herron, Council President, thanked the administration for thinking outside of the box and looking for a solution. He said one of the realities in Vermilion is that they don’t have the budget to compete with other municipalities in this market because it’s a much in-demand position.
Council voted unanimously to approve the mayor's request.