Court system gets a jolt

LISBON – It was an eventful first day for the new IT person hired by the Columbiana County Clerk of Court’s office when a power surge early Monday morning knocked out the whole system.

Chief Deputy Clerk of Courts Shane Patrone said he and Ben Black, the newly hired chief deputy systems administrator, spent the day trying to get both the computers and telephones back up. The power surge flipped the system, according to Patrone, and Dell had to be contacted to help them get everything back online.

“He got a good idea of what we have,” Patrone said of Black’s first day. “It was probably the worst day ever. It showed me what he knew. He helped me a lot.”

A sure sign of the computer age, the system going down made it difficult for clerks and other employees to function in some places throughout the courthouse. In Probate Court for instance, those attempting to file for their marriage licenses were unable to do so and will have to come back later.

Receipts were being handwritten in some places. It was impossible to look up the information from older cases, unless the case files were still where recent cases are filed.

Patrone pointed out in some parts of the system the problem may have made it apparent for a need for back-up manual systems for some court functions. However for the most part, he believed employees would be able to get work caught up throughout the day today.

The issue also affected county Municipal Court, where Judge Mark Frost joked that “Beyonce must have knocked the computers out.”

It was a reference from the Super Bowl the night before when a power outage early in the third quarter knocked out the lights in half of the New Orleans Superdome for 30 minutes. Beyonce had performed during the halftime show and was rumored for most of the day on Monday to have been responsible for the outage.