Why has an Idaho county computer system not worked for weeks?

(TNS) – A server outage at the Boise County building in Idaho City shut down basic government services for about two weeks, particularly in the clerk’s office.

The server went down after the county recently had mechanical problems and power outages that affected older equipment, and also caused temperature changes in a computer room, Ryan Stirm, the one of three county commissioners, to the Idaho Statesman. He said the problems started around May 8.

“We’ve been fighting tooth and nail for the past few weeks,” Stirm said. He said the county was able to use a backup system on May 17 to administer the primary election, and that the court system and sheriff’s office systems are separate and unaffected.


Stirm said some county employees have been able to work from home while county offices have had to close for periods. Property assessment notices could be delayed this year, he said, in part because online property maps have been affected.

“We are working on it as quickly as possible; the majority is in place now,” Stirm said.

“Other than that, we just tried to put some money into it and get everything back to how it was before so it wouldn’t happen again.”

On Friday, the county clerk’s office was closed, according to its website, “due to issues with the recovery of the county’s server system.” On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, calls to the clerk went to voicemail and a recorded message said “Boise County server is still down at this time. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

Kenna Merrigan, an escrow manager with Empire Title in Meridian, told The Statesman on Wednesday that she had a client in Boise County who had been trying to buy a home since May 12, but the county recorder didn’t. was unable to retrieve the necessary documents.

Merrigan said she called the recorder’s office about every other day.

“I’ve been doing this for over 25 years and I’ve never seen this happen where someone can’t check in,” she said, adding that her buyer had to delay the arrival of the moving trucks. planned.

“They just tell you every day that they’re going to try to record that day,” she said.

Garden Valley resident Alex Nguyen told the Statesman that the server issue temporarily prevented him from closing a new home, which came at a cost.

After attempting to complete a purchase on May 17, Nguyen said he learned from his lender and title company that the server was down. Last Friday, the title company was able to shut down, he said.

Prior to that, Nguyen said he negotiated a mortgage rate lock-in with a lender while he was buying and closing on his new home. His lock rate was only good for a short time, he said, and he had to pay to extend it during the server outage. He said he also racked up fees from the seller because he missed the sale deadline.

He said others may be in worse shape if they synchronize the sale of an old house with the purchase of a new one.

Nguyen works in information technology and told the Statesman that he is a database administrator. He said the county’s problems suggest potentially serious problems.

“If it’s just one server and it shuts down the system – whether it’s the county clerk or the whole system – I think that’s really scary,” he said. stated, noting that this suggests the system has a “single point of failure”.

This means that if there is only one point within their network (that) goes down, the whole system goes down,” he said.

Nguyen said advanced types of surge protection, precise temperature control and security in and around the server room are key to having a safe and functional system, and the duration of the outage does just that. worry that many safes are not in place.

“I’ve never seen a server go down and take out an entire network – an entire system – for more than a week,” he said. “…If (the system) is archaic, you better make sure you can recover from a single-server frying failure.”

Emails sent by the statesman to county employees on Saturday, including the county clerk and recorder, were not delivered, according to automated responses.

“There was a problem delivering your message,” said a notification sent on Monday.

© 2022 The Idaho Statesman. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Gordon K. Morehouse