Computer systems have since been shut down while experts get the county back online. But electronic payments to vendors who do business with the county have also been halted.
Officials say they tried to bring the system back online more than a month after it was hacked. Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy said he had to pay Suffolk’s bills every week, but since the hack he hasn’t been able to pay everyone. This means some companies have gone weeks without being paid – and some are starting to feel the pinch.
“I would conservatively estimate $140 million,” Kennedy said, estimating how much has not been paid to local businesses doing business with the county since the Sept. 8 hack.
The hack forced the county to shut down its computer systems in nearly every department. The county says it is slowly bringing more and more systems online as it deals with the repercussions. Kennedy’s office says that every Monday he has to pay about $30 million to $40 million in bills — this Monday will be the sixth week he hasn’t been able to easily pay vendors. He says some essential bills and expenses are paid, but many small businesses are contacting him, saying they need to be paid to pay their own expenses.
The county told News 12 Long Island that more than $40 million has been manually paid out so far.
“As we have said from day one, we are continuing to provide all essential services, in many cases at a slower pace than usual. We are therefore continuing to work with the Comptroller’s Office to provide all possible support to expedite the process so they can make those payments faster,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Kennedy said all vendors will eventually get paid, but businesses with critical issues must now contact the county.
“We have heard of child care centres, preschools, disabled home health aides – a range of many entities that operate on a narrow margin. Again contact your services, voice your concerns and challenges … we’ll get them taken care of,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the county will pay all of its debts once its systems are back online. He estimated that it could take another month.