Newtown Township

Technology Committee

Minutes of the meeting of April 29, 2008

The Newtown Township Technology Committee held its first meeting on April 29, 2008 in the lower level meeting room. In attendance were members: James Bowe, Robert Bowers, Michael Horan, Edward Lipski, Harry Stevens and Richard Thompson. Also in attendance were Supervisors Michael Gallagher and Jerry Schenkman.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.

Introductions

The members and Supervisors introduced themselves.

Mr. Gallagher, as a programmer and a new supervisor, saw a need to improve the Township’s use of technology.

Mr. Schenkman said that he is an attorney, and only a user of technology, but has served as Supervisor liaison to the Telecommunications Advisory Committee.

Mr. Thompson is a network administrator for the State of New Jersey.

Mr. Horan is an athletic trainer at Council Rock High School North and has worked to incorporate the use of technology at the school and at home.

Mr. Stevens has worked in telecommunications and data processing. He is chairman of the Telecommunications Advisory

Mr. Lipski is a software engineer as well as a teacher at the Penn State Continuing Education program.

Mr. Bowers owns a manufacturing company and works with technology in his business.

Mr. Bowe is a programming consultant working with Web based applications and is past chairman of the Telecommunications Advisory Committee and current secretary of the Planning Commission.

Organization of Officers

Mr. Gallagher reviewed the responsibilities of the Chairman and Vice Chairman, noting that the chairman runs meetings, and working with the recording secretary, sets the agenda. He would lead the Committee in its setting of goals and objectives.

Mr. Bowe suggested that the Committee might take an active role in developing a technology plan for the Township, and would be involved in the technology portion of budget planning.

Mr. Thompson nominated Mr. Lipski to serve as chairman. Mr. Bowe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Stevens nominated Mr. Bowe to serve as vice-chairman. Mr. Lispki seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Review of Establishing Resolution

The members were presented with copies of the resolution that formed the Committee. Mr. Schenkman noted that the resolution is very broadly drafted to allow the Committee to pursue whatever areas of the Township’s technology need to be addressed.

Goals and Objectives

Mr. Lipski said that this Committee should begin its investigation into possible goals and objectives first. Toward this end he outlined some duties:

  • To find out what the Township’s current technology is
  • To find “the pain,” or shortcomings in the current technology
  • To learn whether the employees using the current technology have identified any areas of “pain”
  • To develop a plan to address the shortcomings of the current technology

Mr. Bowe suggested having an informal discussion with the Board of Supervisors during a work session to learn what the Board would expect from the Committee. He also suggested that cost cutting and addressing some of the residents’ needs and concerns should be included among goals.

Mr. Gallagher discussed the Township’s technology employees and its consultant, and noted that the Committee would sometimes need to work with these people or possibly ask them to attend meetings. Any such requests for meetings with employees or consultants should be discussed with Township Assistant Manager John Boyle.

Mr. Lipski said that education would be an important component of any plan for improving the Township’s use of technology.

The members briefly discussed the current technology budget. Mr. Schenkman said that the current budget only accounts for maintenance of the current equipment. The Township plans to build a new administration building along with making some alterations of existing buildings at the municipal complex; the Technology Committee might make some important contributions in the planning for this proposed expansion.

Mr. Thompson said that before any goals are set, the Committee should review the existing infrastructure.

Mr. Horan suggested including addressing the needs of the community in setting goals.

Mr. Gallagher suggested that the members should begin by meeting the staff and reviewing the current infrastructure, possibly meeting with the Township consultant who maintains the current systems.

Mr. Schenkman noted that the police department has some specific technologies and some needs that should also be considered. He suggested that, when evaluating current systems and meeting with employees, the police department’s administrator also be included.

Mr. Bowe said that when considering the needs of the Township, the various committees, boards and commissions should be included.

Mr. Lipski suggested that the Committee members should use e-mail to communicate ideas about possible goals and objectives to be discussed at future meetings.

The members agreed to the following:

  • Mr. Lipski would meet with the Township Manager and Assistant Manager to discuss the existing technology, and to arrange meetings with the technology employees
  • Obtain an organizational chart of the Township and an inventory of existing infrastructure
  • Investigate what other municipalities are doing, how they are using technology
  • Outline a questionnaire or survey for employees asking what shortcomings they find with the current technology
  • Ultimately develop a business plan

Mr. Lipski again urged the members to communicate with one another via e-mail to discuss these broadly defined objectives.

Mr. Bowe noted that there is still a vacancy on the Committee. He asked the members to try to interest a neighbor in joining.

Without objection the meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary