Oakland County will transform the way employees communicate and collaborate with each other as well as with the public by investing in a unified communications system to replace its analog telephone and voicemail systems. That’s one of several technology upgrades County Executive L. Brooks Patterson calls for in his balanced budget recommendation for fiscal years 2018-2020.“
Over the next five years, we’ll make a significant investment in capital projects that will maintain and improve technology,” Patterson said.
The unified communications system will provide peer-to-peer video conferencing, establish private wireless access to enable mobility, and link all county facilities. Some of its high-tech features include:
- Conversion to a digitally based Voice Over Internet Protocol
- Campus-wide wireless cloak to allow access for employees and guests
- Video calling to/from all devices on the network
- Expanded use of instant messaging
- Expanded network capacity to allow faster communications
Other county technology projects include replacement of the county’s financial and human resources (HR) system, implementation of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and installation of a new firearms training system for sheriff deputies:
- Oakland County’s current PeopleSoft Financial and HR System lacks many of the work process improvements offered by more modern systems because its HR component is nearly 20 years old and its financial component is over a decade old. The county will identify and implement new enterprise-wide systems which will include modules for accounting, financial planning, receivables, payables, purchasing and vendor management. Not only will the county be able to perform these key functions more efficiently, but it will help improve transparency by making records more accessible and easier to compile.
- VDI will transform the county’s working environment and improve team member satisfaction while enhancing technical security and operational performance. It is the practice of running a user desktop inside a virtual machine that lives on a server in the county’s datacenter. The benefits of VDI include increased security, easier support, and better availability. It also enables new workforce strategies such as working remotely and enabling employees to bring their own devices.
- The firearms training system requested by the Sheriff’s Office is a simulator which uses five interconnected borderless screens to create a fully immersive 300 degree environment that trains deputies how to continue to assess situations and expand situational awareness during high stress incidents.
Patterson’s recommended budget also will boost the county’s efforts to position itself as an employer of choice. Because of the improving economy, there is increased competition for new hires. Therefore, Oakland County will provide a general salary increase of three percent for fiscal 2018, one percent for 2019, and one percent for 2020.
“Competition in the labor market is evident and it is becoming more of a challenge to recruit and retain experienced, high-quality employees,” Patterson said. “Thus, the recommended budget includes slight incremental adjustments to employee compensation.”
Other items of interest in Patterson’s proposed budget include funding to assist local communities with road improvements:
- The Tri-Party Road Funding program leverages county dollars for county road improvements with an equal match amount from the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) as well as the participating local community. The proposed budget assumes the Board of Commissioners will continue to authorize $2 million annually for this discretionary program, leveraging a total of $6 million annually.
- The pilot Bi-Party Road Funding program to assist local cities and villages with local residential and commercial road improvements in an effort to attract, retain and grow business; retain jobs and encourage community investment; and maintain a safe road infrastructure. It will leverage $1 million of county funds for local road improvement projects with a total benefit of no less than $2 million.
The proposed general fund budgets for fiscals 2018, 2019, and 2020 are $454,704,473; $462,359,483; and $467,470,913, respectively. The total budgets for all funds for those years are $878,423,569; $882,464,428; and $887,158,499, respectively.
“This budget recommendation was accomplished through a partnership of all Oakland County officials. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Oakland County employees for their dedication and hard work,” Patterson said.
To view Patterson’s budget recommendation, go to www.OakGov.com/fiscal and click on “Information & Publications.”