RUSK – County leaders approved an interlocal contract with the Department of Information Resources during its regular meeting Monday, for a master services agreement that will check the strength of the county's election security system.
Gene Moore, of AT&T, who is the lead for the service program in Texas, told the Cherokee County Commissioners' Court that the contract is a “mandatory assessment by the state through the Department of information Resources,” funded by grants to see just how secure an entity's system is.
“It's a very comprehensive assessment for your elections security – not just your website, but more comprehensive than that,” he said. “What we do, is actually produce a report back to your county, and we look at everything from your ballot creation all the way through your storage of information, voter's registrar, etc. We'll look at your technology systems; we'll got through everything to make sure that there's not anyone on the dark web, that's checking out the county, trying to disrupt your elections or giving a perception of disrupting your elections.”
Results will be examined by the state, which will then decide how it will address issues that are discovered, “whether it's a combination of fixing the issues here or a combination of upgrading equipment, those kinds of things. That's what we're trying to figure out,” Moore said.
The assessments began in August 2018; participating entities receive code-protected access to their report to be able to download information to their servers.
During Tuesday's meeting, county leaders also:
• Approved John Alexander Gym in Jacksonville as a temporary polling place for Precinct 28;
• Approved Sheriff James Campbell's monthly departmental report, as well as the annual racial profiling report;.
• Approved two requests for tax refunds greater than $500 – one was issued to a veteran who was granted 100 percent disability by the V.A., while the other was issued to a bankruptcy attorney;
• Approved resolutions in support of Violence Against Women Prosecutor Grant #3351204 and Victims of Crime Act Project Grant #2897805;
• Approved the county's participation in the TAC (Texas Association of Counties) cybersecurity program; and
• Approved a consent agenda that included payment of bills, payroll and transfer of funds; approval of Precinct 2 Constable Jack Whites monthly and racial profiling report; and monthly reports from the county auditor and the county treasure for Dec. 2019.
Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson presented plaques to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department, thanking them for their assistance following the April 13 tornados and the subsequent loss of an Alto police officer the following month due to a medical emergency.
“They went above and beyond everything they should have done,” he said of Sheriff Campbell and Brent Dickson before presenting them with awards.