Since then, computer systems have been shut down while experts get the county back online. But electronic payments to vendors that do business with the county have been shut down as well.
Officials say they have been trying to get the system back online more than a month after it was hacked. Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy said he needs to pay Suffolk’s bills every week but since the hack, he has not been able to pay everyone. That means some businesses have gone weeks without getting 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 companies that do business with the county since the hack on Sept. 8.
The hack forced the county to shut down its computer systems in almost every department. The county says it’s slowly bringing more and more systems online as it deals with the repercussions. Kennedy’s office says each Monday he has to pay about $30 to $40 million in bills – this Monday will be the sixth week where he has not been able to easily pay vendors. He says some critical bills and expenditures are being paid but many small businesses are reaching out to him, saying they need to be paid to pay their own expenses.
The county tells News 12 Long Island more than $40 million has been paid out manually so far.
“As we have said from day one, we are continuing to provide all the critical services, in many cases, at a slower pace than usual. So we continue to work with the comptroller office to provide whatever support we can to speed up the process so that they can make these payments in a quicker fashion,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Kennedy said eventually all vendors will be paid but businesses with critical issues now need to reach out to the county.
“We’ve heard from day care, pre-schools, handicap-in-home health aids – a range of many entities that operate on a tight margin. Once again, contact your departments, express what your concerns and challenges are…we’ll get them taken care of,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy said the county will pay all of its debts once it gets its systems back online. He estimated that it could take another month.