MT. CLEMENS (WWJ) – Macomb County is learning a hard lesson about the need for a backup data center.

The county’s courts and other departments are back to pen-and-paper operations after a fire at the old county building Wednesday wiped out the county’s servers and phone system.

“This is what we warned them about,” County Executive Mark Hackel said Thursday, referring to his warnings back in the 2000s, when he was county sheriff, about losing jail records in an earlier data system failure. “What we explained could happen, did happen, and I think everybody’s now a believer.”

Hackel said county officials can’t turn their computers on to find out the extent of data and hardware damage because there’s no power to the data center. And power can’t be restored to the data center soon because of water still in the building.

“The county never had a backup site,” Hackel said.

Not that this helps much at the moment, but it will soon. Hackel said a plan to put a backup data center at the county jail building near Groesbeck Ave. at Elizabeth Road will continue. Temporarily, it will serve as the county’s primary data center.

Meanwhile, a more ambitious, $14 million plan to put a new data center, along with a new county communications center, at the Macomb County Road Commission at 117 S. Groesbeck in Mt. Clemens, will continue. Once complete — currently scheduled by year’s end — that will become the county’s primary data center.

Hackel said he didn’t yet have a time estimate as to when the county’s full data center operations might be back online. Nor could he estimate the cost of the damage caused by fire and water at the old county building. He declared a local state of emergency in the old building, which he said would help get the mess cleaned up more quickly.

Hackel was elected in November 2010 and took office in January 2011 as Macomb’s first county executive.

The 13-story old county building at 10 N. Main in downtown Mt. Clemens housed the county Register of Deeds offices, along with its IT, finance, human resources, and facilities and operations departments, about 140 employees in all.


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