PRINCETON — Gibson County Commissioners approved a contract Wednesday for technology user security training with a Clearwater, Florida-based firm recommended by the county's internet technology contractor, Parrish Consulting.

The training provided by KnowBe4 will cost about $4,000, or $18.90 per employee, and is needed, if a mock phishing test is any indicator.

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies, in order to induce someone to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Commissioners learned that several county employees "fell for" a recent phishing test conducted by Gibson County Sheriff's Office E911 coordinator Chris Ziebell. According to Parrish Consulting, about 93 percent of phishing attempts are made through email infiltration.

With no training, it's estimated that about 30 percent of government employees are susceptible to phishing. With the 90-day training course offered through KnowBe4, those percentages drop to about 13 percent, and with a full year of training, the percentage drops to about 2 percent.

"I think it's a high priority issue," said County Attorney James McDonald. "I think it's something we need to seriously consider."

Commissioners voted 3-0 to contract for the training.

In other business, Gibson County Economic Development Corporation CEO/President Paul Waters told the board that Gibson and Posey County Farm Bureau organizations are co-hosting a meeting for property owners regarding wind and/or solar farm proposals. The guest speaker is an attorney who has worked for both the utilities and landowners.

"We have had one wind farm company and three solar farm companies talking with landowners," Waters told commissioners. "I think it's a good thing to try to vet them as much as they can."

Commissioner Gerald Bledsoe agreed. "I get lots and lots of calls," he said. He said Monday's meeting at Gibson Southern High School should have some good information delivered by an attorney "who has been on both sides of the fence."

Commissioners also:

• Gave permission to Gibson County Highway Superintendent Chuck Lewis to ask county council members about starting the hiring process for an additional laborer on the department in 2019.

Lewis also reported the department has purchased an asphalt hot box and a small road roller, two dump trucks and he's looking to replace a one-ton truck. All the items were budgeted in 2018/

He said he also investigated a sinkhole on the side of the road on County Road 350 East, north of Ind. 64.

• Learned from Gibson County Health Department Public Nurse Administrator Diane Hornby that the department gave 342 immunizations last month, conducted nine communicable disease investigations, issued eight new septic permits, investigated six animal bite cases, issued 73 birth certificates and 101 death certificates.

• Received a report from the ambulance service detailing 346 runs last month, with $2.16 million billed to-date this year and $1.95 million collected to-date. Commissioners approved $1,743 in write-offs.

• Learned Gibson County Soil and Water Conservation District has received a $12,000 cover crop grant, and got information on a soil sampling workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 15 at Wirth Park in Oakland City.

• Adopted a change in the county's policy regarding paying per diem for meals for employees required to spend the day away from the courthouse. Previously, the per diem was only paid for travel 50 miles or more from the courthouse.

• Learned the Hopkins Family Park has received a $200,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources, and approved a contract with McDonald for legal services for the park board.

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