November 28, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain court expects report on data loss

LORAIN — City and Lorain Municipal Court officials expect to learn this week whether computerized records lost when a server crashed May 19 can be fully retrieved.

Besides court records, records from the Department of Building, Housing and Planning and Fire Department were lost, Auditor Ron Mantini said Sunday. Mantini said city data, which is backed up daily, was recovered in two days.

Mantini said court data hadn’t been backed up since Feb. 28. He said the court hired a contractor to retrieve the data and Information Technology Department employees are working on retrieval with the contractor and the courts.

Public access to the court’s website was working Sunday but had been down for about three weeks.
After the crash, the court switched to another server and couldn’t do daily operations and maintain the website, Judge Mark Mihok said.

Clerk of Courts Lori Maiorana said she expects data from Feb. 28 to May 30 will be recovered, but information from the first week of June may be lost.

The crash comes after criticism of the IT department and Maiorana by Joe Pinter, who was clerk of courts information system administrator until his firing April 3 by Maiorana.

In a May 31 letter to Maiorana, Mihok and Judge Thomas Elwell, Pinter said he was unfairly criticized by Maiorana in an article that appeared in the May 30 Morning Journal regarding the crash.

Pinter, hired in 2011, wrote that he had written documentation showing he warned of storage problems since 2012. Pinter wrote that he last backed up files Feb. 28 before AMCAD, the court’s Herndon, Va.,-based software vendor, was to do an update. He noted the crash happened more than a month after he was fired.

“Had I been on staff, I would never have condoned the service of the (Storage Array Network) without first manually backing up the system. This would be standard operating procedure even if the city had a valid offsite backup plan in place,” Pinter wrote. “One simply does do not do work on the central repository of data without first creating a full backup.”

Pinter wrote that Maiorana had a “nonchalant manner” about records retention. He said that during an April 3 meeting, Maiorana discussed suing AMCAD over previous problems.

Pinter said he told Maiorana chances of a successful lawsuit would be hindered by Maiorana not having participated in software training. Pinter said he was fired shortly after saying that he wouldn’t support a lawsuit.

Maiorana said Pinter told her he was regularly backing up the system.

“We assumed everything was current, but then we found out it was not,” she said.

Maiorana said Pinter was fired for insubordination. She said he had been “spreading himself too thin” helping other departments, which wasn’t part of his job.

“He’s a brilliant guy. There’s no doubt about it,” she said. “But he was just difficult to work with sometimes.”

In his letter and in a Feb. 5 email to court and city officials, Pinter accused the IT Department of causing a Feb. 4 crash. He said an employee removing servers without informing the courts inadvertently disconnected a server.

“To do any work in a production environment during production is gross malfeasance in all credibly accepted standards of information service,” the email said.

Mantini said, regardless of Pinter’s accusations, Pinter hadn’t backed up the court files since Feb. 28.

“Joe can spin it any way he wants,” Mantini said. “There’s a lot of activity on a daily basis and that system should be backed up every night.”

Mihok said the court has asked for a report from the contractor doing the retrieval on what went wrong — and why — so it doesn’t happen again.

“We’re not out to make accusations,” he said. “We just want to fix the problem and move forward.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.


  • Josh simms

    Mr Mantini is 100 % correct. The system should be backed up daily. When the fired Tech told Mr. Stewart the court administrator the system needs backed up, he would have made that a priority. Even if he didn’t tell him, the job should have been looked into. I guess people just like job titles, but do not know what goes on in the courts. Time for a S.O.P. Mr. Stewart. Or maybe a basic computer course.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Does not sound like they have people that are experienced in
    IT governance and best practices.

    Nowadays servers are backed up every 15 minutes in some
    cases, and virtualizing makes them accessible in hours not days. He is right
    about one thing though, you never do a lot of work on a production system
    without a backup first. It’s the golden rule.

  • Sis Delish

    Clerk of Courts Lori Maiorana is an Elected Position? Or, was she appointed for her Acumen in the job she holds?

    • oldruss

      The Lorain Clerk of Courts is elected; as is the mayor, president of council, the treasurer, the auditor, the law director, the council members, and the judges of the municipal court.

      • Josh simms

        Still Oldruss, they pay for a court administrator , you would think he would do a job. I just heard today that his wife also works there and he spends most of his day in her closed office. Hmmmmmm

        • oldruss

          I was simply answering Sis Delish’s question as to whether or not the Clerk of Courts is an elected position. Frankly, this whole drama is all too much like the reprise of a mediocre musical, the same “stuff” year after year after year. If it’s not the Clerk’s office, it’s the city income tax department, or it’s the city water department, or it’s the city street department, or it’s the city building department with their point-of-sale inspections, or it’s somebody else in city government.

          • stillsleepyeyes

            right on point……………….and they all still have a job………..

  • JoyceEarly

    This reminds me of a meeting I was at where the city was spending a fortune on servers to house data. They are clueless when it comes to IT. There are businesses out there that provide web backup at a minimal cost and guarantee they won’t “lose” your data. The city of Lorain is in the dark ages when it comes to information technology.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    My question is why when something happens (doesn’t matter what department ) they always hire outside help? what do these people do all day up there????????

    • Matt Barile

      Not everyone knows everything, I work in IT and i rarely ask outside help but it is handy when needed. It’s like getting a second opinion from a doctor. But also, they apparently don’t know what they’re doing here so the need all the help they can get lol.

      • Sis Delish

        Someone had fiduciary responsibility for (failure) of this asset backup. I doubt it’s the lowly fired non-compliant computer expert. No different than if there were a fire or flood and equipment was damaged or destroyed.

        Like a civilian head of the military, some folks are just not fit to lead.

  • golfingirl

    Data backup is such an inexpensive and basic operation, a child can do it.

    Online services provide an automatic method of doing this, which requires absolutely no human intervention.

    It should be backed up daily, overnight while the city offices are closed.

    Really is no excuse for this. Now it will cost 100 times more to attempt to retrieve these records, then back them up like they should have been in the first place.

    In today’s age of technology, this is inexcusable.

    Let the finger-pointing begin!!

  • golfingirl

    “We assumed everything was current, but then we found out it was not,” ….says Maiorana.

    You assumed? If you are in charge, you better confirm.

  • Sis Delish

    This is a Defense Attorney Dream Scenario in the making…