Two months before city officials wrestled with this month's cyber-attack, they started to consider bids to update the computer system for city offices. The current system will lose manufacturer support Jan. 1.

Dell will install a $16,000 server, built to the city's specifications, with much-increased security, Interim City Manager Leslie Cloer told the Herald-Press Tuesday.

In addition to the server, Dell may also get the $52,000 contract for the city's new computer system.

City Council members could have approved the purchase Monday, but City Finance Director Jim Mahoney, who presented Dell's contract to the council Monday night, didn't have the paperwork necessary for council approval.

Dell did not bid on the city contract; it was contacted directly by Mahoney. The bids received by the city were rejected, either due to cost or lack of faith.

Because Dell was not part of the bidding process, however, Palestine city charter requires the company to document that it is a cooperating entity with the state Department of Information Resources.

Mahoney didn't have the documentation at Monday's council meeting.

“I wasn't in the paperwork I brought to show the council,” he said. “I do have the paperwork, though. It will be presented at the Sept. 3 council meeting.”

Cloer said the two-week delay in Dell's contract approval will have no negative consequences, as the server, which is still being built, needs to be installed first.

“I'm confident we'll be up and running well before the end of the calendar year,” she said.

Mahoney said the new computer system comes not a moment too soon.

“This upgrade is long overdue,” he said. “Not only will our security receive a necessary upgrade, but we will be provided with years of support.”

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