Cass County exploring new email provider

CASS COUNTY, Mich--- The Cass County Board of Commissioners is exploring a new email provider. The county currently uses Zimbra as its email service provider.

 Calls for the county to change providers increased after the system malfunctioned in late December. 

"Countywide it affected the county government operations," said Kerry Collins, Systems Information Director for Cass County. "It included the law and courts building, the sheriffs office, our maintenance department in the Cass County building here."

Collins suggests that the county changes from using Zimbra to Microsoft Office 365. The Cass County Board of Commissioners voted on a measure to make the change at Monday night's meeting. 

The measure failed 3-3 with one vote abstaining because of a conflict of interest. "The major concern is the cost, both the annual cost and the initial cost laying it out. That is my main concern right now," said Commissioner Michael Grice.

Currently the county pays $8000 a year for Zimbra's services. A change to Office 365 would mean costs of $108,000 to install the software countywide and $57,000 a year for services. 

"I represent the tax payers have to preserve their interests and do everything I need to do to control costs," said Grice.

Collins points out that the change would not only mean a different email provider, but would also allow the county to use the latest version of programs like PowerPoint and Excel. 

"That gives us the ability  of raising the standard or platform for all of our employees and what they use," said Collins. 

Collins is expected to give an updated pitch at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday night. 

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