The state's audit of the city of Pine Bluff's finances in 2010 encouraged the city to improve its plans for recovering electronic data in the event of a disaster.

The state’s audit of the city of Pine Bluff’s finances in 2010 encouraged the city to improve its plans for recovering electronic data in the event of a disaster.

Finance Director Steve Miller and Fire and Emergency Services Department Lt. Earnest Jones told the Pine Bluff City Council at its Dec. 19 meeting that they are working to do just that.

The report from the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee pinpointed issues with the computer systems in the Finance Department and District Court.

“There was no formally documented and approved Disaster Recovery Plan,” the audit report stated. “This situation could cause the entity to be without computer processing for an extended period of time in the event of a disaster or major interruption and could place undue financial and personnel burdens on the resources of the entity.”

Miller and Jones said the city has taken the following steps to respond to the state’s findings:

• City network administrator Wes ODonohue has contacted state officials for guidance, taken training courses and begun working on a Disaster Recovery Plan for the whole city with the assistance of Jones and the finance department

• The city has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to fund the development of emergency planning

• And Jones is working with a consulting firm that will assist the city in making sure the plans developed are in line with state and federal guidelines.

“There is a statewide effort ongoing to implement these disaster plans,” Miller said, “and it covers more than computer systems, it covers how the city would operate and continue to operate in the event of a disaster, and Legislative Audit, in my understanding, is being utilized as a way to enforce that, to raise the level of awareness and get the cities to begin getting on board with this statewide effort to implement disaster recovery plans.”

Jones told the council that the plan will be in place before the next inspection in May 2012.