Gallia discusses courthouse phone system bugs

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis County Commissioners discussed options Thursday to remedy a bugged phone system that has been plaguing the Gallia County Courthouse over the series of eight weeks.

As of the commission meeting Thursday morning, the Gallia County Courthouse phones were working but its voicemail has not been functioning. According to information gathered from the commission meeting, the phone system at the courthouse is roughly a few decades old. In prior weeks, the system was out completely.

According to information technology courthouse professional John Grubb, the phone system has been up over the last week but occasionally has gone out over the weekend. The phones have since started operating again, but the voicemail is malfunctioning. He stated during the meeting that the voicemail and other systems were backed up by battery. He has also said he needs time to determine a solution to the series of problems.

According to discussion at the meeting, the voicemail system is expected to potentially be operating again next week. Efforts are being discussed to divert phone traffic to a central location in the courthouse so messages and constant contact can still be maintained.

“Folks, we can’t keep doing this,” said David Smith, commission member. “We’ve got a bill here for $15,000 (for a replacement part). I don’t have a problem with paying it, except for all the errors (the phone system company) has made. It’s not reliable. We just have to do something different.”

Smith mentioned the possibility of finding a new service provider. In past meetings, he addressed the possibility of trying to find refurbished parts for the current courthouse phone system. Grubb has said many of the parts are difficult to find as many of them are not in production any longer.

According to the meeting, products and software sent to repair the system have either been wrong versions, sent to other cities or addressed to the wrong locations in Gallia County.

A proposed new phone system, according to meeting information, could cost upwards of $120,000.

“I’d prefer not to spend that, but if that’s ultimately what we’re going to have to do, we have to do it,” Smith said.

Sherry Daines, Gallia County 911 and Emergency Management Agency director, is in the midst of doing research for the commissioners in regards to phone technologies used in the surrounding area at other county courthouses.

“I told a (consultant) that we didn’t know if we were going to be able to put in a new system or not. We would like to have our old system worked on,” Daines told commissioners. “We’d like to keep it for a least a few more years until we get the funding to take care of (a new system).”

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright