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City computers remain down, restoration work continues

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Friday, April 19, 2019

Greenville city employees have returned to handwritten citations and reports while experts work to restore systems shutdown after a ransomware virus attack on April 10.

Greenville City Manager Ann Wall said there is no deadline for when the city’s systems will return to normal but information technology staff would be working today, a city holiday, as they try to resolve the program.

The goal is to have police and fire systems restored first, followed by the city’s internal financial system and then email.

“We are moving to the restore part of our process,” Wall said. “We are getting the systems rebuilt but we are having to touch every single laptop and and desktop that the city has. Every workstation, and we have 800 workstations.”

The city’s information technology staff, working with outside consultants, is removing everything on the computers and reinstalling software, Wall said. The city also has 130 systems that also have to be repaired.

The city’s computer system has been shut down since April 10 when a ransomware virus was discovered. The FBI was brought in the investigate. Wall said she could not offer any update into the criminal investigation.

“We have treated this much like we would any other emergency situation,” Wall said. “It’s a tech emergency, not a weather-related emergency, but we are using our emergency operations plans.”

That means staff is using pens, paper and the occasional carbon copy form to carry out the city’s business, Wall said.

“We haven’t missed a beat. City services still continue. We do everything cities do. It’s just a little clunky, maybe not as efficient, because we have to do everything on paper and using old, old systems,” Wall said. Employees continue to provide great service and getting done what needs to be done everyday, she said.

While police, fire and EMS are hand-writing some reports and citations, social media is filling in other areas.

Greenville Recreation and Parks on Wednesday posted on the city’s main Facebook page that its RecTrac Software, which manages reservations and registrations, is down, along with employee email. The post advises people to call recreation and parks at 329-4567 to make shelter and building reservations.

All recreational programming is continuing as scheduled. People are asked to bring exact cash or write a check if money is due because credit cards can’t be used.

Along with recreation and parks, public works, police and fire-rescue also have separate Facebook pages that are providing updates on city activities.

Brock Letchworth, Greenville’s public information officer/communications manager, said the city also has Twitter, Instagram and Nextdoor.

Community Development still is issuing certificates of occupancy and performing building inspections, Letchworth said. Planning reviews are on paper, so that hasn’t changed, he said.

Human resources has access to applicants, so employment interviews still are taking place.

The public can pick up accident and incidents reports from the police department but it may take a few extra days before they are complete because they are handwritten.

“Technology is a tool that we use and it’s a very powerful tool,” Wall said. “But technology doesn’t provide the service, we do it and we continue to do that.”

Wall said city employees have been smart about making sure the city’s work is done every day.

City contacts

Individuals who need to reach employees with the city  are asked to call because its email system is not working.

Here is a list of departmental phone numbers:

■ Emergencies: 911

■ Police non-emergency: 329-4317

■ Fire/Rescue non-emergency: 329-4390

■ Public Works Department: 329-4522

■ Recreation and Parks Department: 329-4567

■ City Manager's Office: 329-4432

■ Community Development Department: 329-4504

■ Human Resources Department: 329-4492

■ Financial Services Department: 329-4444

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.

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