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Windows XP's extinction means $132,000 computer bill for Conway

Posted: February 27, 2014 - 6:13pm

Microsoft’s planned obsolescence of is Windows XP operating system in April will cost Conway about $132,000.

Most of this money, about $107,000, will be spent to update or replace almost every computer in the Conway Police Department building. This is because an end to support of Windows XP means an end to the periodic updates and tinkering that keeps the system safe from computer “viruses” and “hacking.” 

State and federal rules that dictate access to Arkansas and U.S. crime and police database servers require something like a “clean bill of health” for any computer that’s plugged in, making the move away from Windows XP strictly necessary for every law enforcement organization in the country using it. 

It had been estimated that the Conway would spend about $190,000 for the fix, but city IT Director Lloyd Hartzell was able to whittle this down by separating computers that absolutely needed to be plugged in to the city network from ones that didn’t.

The city’s budget for this fiscal year does not include any money for new capital improvements, like computer updates. This means “maybe the only option” to pay for the updates will be tapping reserve “rainy day” funds according to Jack Bell, city chief of staff. 

Chief of Police A.J. Gary said that there is about $30,000 available for use now through CPD’s forfeiture fund bank account, which is made up of money seized and held as evidence, usually in drug arrests. If the case against the person or person ends in a finding of guilt, or if in a federal case part of a Defendant’s plea arrangement involves forfeiting the money, the law enforcement agency may use the money for limited purposes. 

CPD can’t use the money to supplement or supplant general operating expenses, but it can use the money for one-time capital improvements like the computer updates. 

Gary said that there is more money being held by CPD that may become available as the people it was seized from go through the criminal justice system.

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justwantdanews 02/28/14 - 09:41 am
Procrastination will get you every time

XP was released in 2001. Vista was released in 2006. Window 7 was released in 2009 and at that time Microsoft began issuing industry warnings informing the public that they were phasing out support for XP. In 2012 when Window 8 was released, Microsoft issued a cutoff date for XP support! The termination of XP support is not a surprise to anyone. “The city’s budget for this fiscal year does not include any money for new capital improvements, like computer updates. “ How? My question is why didn’t IT departments strongly urge their offices to prepare people for this? From a budgetary and implementations standpoint, it is much easier to budget for a phase out of old software over a few years, rather than to attempt to buy and upgrade an 100+ computers at one time. This is just poor planning. The city is not the only one I hear UCA is having the same issues.

conwaygerl 02/28/14 - 09:50 am

Most managers don't understand the value of the IT opinions and suggestions.

There are best practices and then there are practices that get approved.

Usually they are quite different.

ucabear09 02/28/14 - 11:02 am

Unfortunately, from what I've seen with most local governments technology infrastructures, they are out of date. And not by just a few years; Still running Windows XP on workstations and Windows Server 2003 on the server side.

I can completely understand skipping Vista as it was quite the POS not only for end users but also businesses. Time to shell out the money and upgrade to Windows 7.

On the server side, Server 2003 end of life is next July. Hopefully they will take note and began upgrading to at least 2008. I have my doubts.

ARVoiceofLogic 02/28/14 - 12:52 pm
Uh why not

Linux Ubuntu. It's polished, secure, and .....FREE.

bimhau 02/28/14 - 02:11 pm

It's a shame the cost savings of something like "Google Apps for Government" wasn't as acceptable for Conway as with several larger cities.


johnb 02/28/14 - 02:12 pm
This Isn't a Surprise

I seem to recall reading in an earlier article/discussion that this was pointed out prior to departments forming their FY 2014 budgets but department directors spent the money on other things. Also, I believe the city is at fault by letting the separate departments develop IT budgets/plans rather than having a city wide plan.

Just my 2 cents.

Lilly03 02/28/14 - 04:04 pm
Price of a Christmas Tree ....

Is it ironic that the tree cost about that much?
Look, this is same song different verse. You are right this WAS pointed out before the budget was approved. It was obviously ignored.
We can't afford art, travel, trees, roundabouts, streets, computers, safety vechicles, raises, ALL at the same time on a 'no frills budget'.
House of cards will soon fall.

Jack 03/01/14 - 10:58 am
Right On Lilly

100% What Lilly said.....

Christmas Tree?.?.?.? Really???? A HUGE Failure!

Choir_Practice 03/01/14 - 01:36 pm
What else is new?

The Conway City Council is lead by a mayor who values looks over performance. There has never been a time under this mayor that leadership could be connected to his name. With a council that never says no to any of the hair-brained schemes cooked up by him and the Chamber of Commerce, what else can you expect?

Windows XP was out-of-date before Conway misplaced $2,000,000. Updates and replacement should have been a budget item in 2008. The austerity budget that came from the cash-flow fiasco "reduced" expenses by deferring maintenance (which was then approved as an emergency expenditure - no real change).

Then the city cleaned out the Sanitation Department's bank account to pretend they were balancing a budget, and now we have higher sanitation costs.

The tree was an expensive farce. Prince Street still isn't paved. Oak Street is a bottleneck while we build the plaza and move the (perfectly good) road. Etc. etc. etc.

There's an election coming up for city-wide aldermen. If you're tired of business as usual, do something about it.

Anyone got enough courage to run for office?

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