Minutes of the meeting of July 28, 2009
The Newtown Township Technology Committee met on July 28, 2009 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were Chairman Edward Lipski, Vice Chairman Anand Shukla and members Lynne Brennan, Arun Chaudhary and Jon Schnell. Also in attendance was Township Supervisor Mike Gallagher, Assistant Manager John Boyle and Administrative Assistant Olivia Kivenko.
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Lipski moved to accept the minutes of June 30, 2009. Mr. Chaudhary seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Presentation by Township Technology Consultant: Alan Herr, Township Technology Consultant, was in attendance to review the Township’s current technology and plans in place for the new administration building.
Mr. Herr gave the committee an overview of the current inventory. He also pointed out upgrades for the servers which will be in the new administration building. Fiber optic links will connect the entire municipal complex on a common network. The existing servers will be moved to the new building where a server room is planned. Wireless access points are planned, however no hardware has yet been purchased. There will be the capability for public access at certain public locations.
The members reviewed the floor plans with Mr. Herr who pointed out locations for telephone lines, etc. Comcast will provide internet access.
The members discussed remote and shared access software, particularly focusing on SharePoint.
Mr. Gallagher said that he is eager to introduce some use of SharePoint or a similar product for some committee and Board work, possibly beginning with the Technology committee, gradually expanding the use to the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission. This could greatly reduce the amount of paper produced.
Ms. Brennan spoke briefly about differences between document management and content management. She said that the Township is using Docstar which will work with SharePoint. She provided some information of a case study of use of SharePoint in County government.
Mr. Herr discussed Docstar, which will have to be upgraded at some point, although it is still supported with not firm deadline for the upgrade. He suggested that the Committee might want to have a presentation by a representative of Docstar at some point. He noted that in addition to scanning old documents into TIF’s, Docstar can also integrate electronic documents. Mr. Herr suggested that the Township might want to consider using an outside company to scan the bulk of old documents.
Mr. Gallagher said that he would like this Committee to become involved in document management, perhaps forming a smaller sub-committee. A legal opinion might be needed on creating a document retention policy.
Mr. Herr briefly reviewed the Township’s replacement policy, which is currently a replacement every four years. There are 11 computers to be replaced this year.
(Mr. Herr, Mr. Boyle and Ms. Kivenko left the meeting at this point).
Mr. Lipski suggested that if Committee members have specific questions or concerns about the Township’s hardware or plans in place for the new building, they should forward them to him and Mr. Boyle who would then forward them to Mr. Herr.
Paperless Office: Mr. Lipski suggested that as the committee completes some of its other tasks, including the Park and Rec Web site and recommendations for the new building, it should begin working on helping with recommendations for a paperless office.
The members briefly discussed ways to make the Township more responsive to the community through such ideas as electronic filing for permits.
Mr. Gallagher suggested that the Committee meet with Carroll Engineering about the Township’s GIS.
Ms. Brennan agreed to research SharePoint and other similar programs for the next meeting.
New Building Recommendations: Mr. Schnell said that he would try to arrange for a Smartboard demonstration for August 14, 2009 in the meeting room. Committee members, Board of Supervisors and Township Administration members might be interested in seeing a demonstration. Mr. Schnell said that he was in touch with Visual Sound, which provides AV for the meeting room at Falls Township and Bristol township. He will be reviewing their systems.
Mr. Lipski said that the Committee should try to finalize some recommendations for the Board of Supervisors at the August meeting. He would then bring them to the Supervisors in September.
Park and Recreation Web site: Mr. Lipski said that Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko was favorably impressed with myrec.com. Mr. Lipski is attempting to get price quotes from one or two other vendors before making a final recommendation.
Tax Department: Mr. Bower reported that Tammy Sutton seemed eager for help with upgrading her use of technology, but would like to postpone meeting with him until after the deadline for school taxes in August.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary