Franklin County Public Works director pushing for changes

By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City HeraldNovember 29, 2012 

After a little more than a month on the job, Franklin County's new public works director already is working on changes to bring the department in line with how other counties operate.

Matt Mahoney, formerly a design engineer in the department, was promoted to the top job in the department in October, filling the vacancy left when commissioners fired former director Tim Fife in March.

Commissioners claimed at the time of Fife's firing that he did not do enough to prevent the alleged embezzlement of about $2.8 million by Dennis Huston, the county's former public works accounting manager.

Since being promoted, Mahoney has been changing procedures in the department to tighten controls and modernize how the department operates.

On Wednesday, he came to commissioners with a request for new AutoCAD design software that he said will save the county money over time.

Franklin County is one of only two counties in Washington not using AutoCAD Civil 3D software to design public works projects, he said.

The county instead is using an older software package that Mahoney said he has been warned soon will no longer be supported by its producer.

If the county buys the AutoCAD software, it will have about $20,000 in initial costs, but will save $2,300 per year in subscription fees and tech support costs because the county can get free support for the new software, Mahoney said.

The county also would be able to get help from the state's County Road Administration Board if Franklin County uses the software that everyone else uses.

"That's a big advantage," Mahoney said.

Commissioners opted to wait a week to decide on the purchase because they haven't yet seen the license agreement the county will have to sign.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

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