Minutes of the meeting of April 26, 2011
The Newtown Township Technology Committee met on April 26, 2011 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Ed Lipski, Vice Chairman Anand Shukla, Dan Paramesh, Bob Penland and Prasad Ramnath, members and Township Supervisor Mike Gallagher.
Call to Order: Mr. Lipski called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Shukla noted that on Page 2, paragraph 2 should read, “Mr. Lipski explained…” Mr. Shukla moved to approve the minutes of March 29, 2011, as corrected. .Mr. Penland seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Member Comments: The members briefly discussed the current limitations of the video system for the main meeting room. Electronic data, such as PowerPoint presentations cannot be transmitted directly to the television screens or to the viewing audience, nor can a video be shown on the television screens without being transmitted to the viewing audience.
Mr. Gallagher noted that only the Video Gold employees have a thorough knowledge of the equipment. He suggested that a committee member attend the next Supervisors meeting to spend some time in the broadcast booth to become more familiar with the equipment’s capabilities and limitations.
Mr. Shukla presented the electronic surveys he developed for Township staff and for members of the Township’s committees, boards and commissions. He has made the changes the members suggested in their e-mails. It had been suggested that responses be quantified on a sliding scale, but he found this cumbersome to include and decided against it, electing instead for comments after certain responses.
The members agreed that they would like responses, even from those who do not use computers at all at work. Some of the employees who do not use computers do use other electronics including cell phones and other communication devices. Information of their usefulness would also be relevant to the IT plan. Those employees who are not assigned a computer will be provided with paper copies of the survey; the recording secretary would transcribe those results.
Mr. Shukla presented draft letters to accompany the surveys. He said he would make suggested changes/additions and forward to the Township Manager shortly.
Updating Township Web site
Mr. Gallagher reported that the Township has reserved the domain name newtownpa.gov. He explained that the current Web site is in Dreamweaver. One employee updates it and adds new content. He would like any new site to be easily updated by a number of different authorized people, including the Supervisors, Township Manager and his administrative assistant.
Mr. Lipski said that going forward he would like the Web site to be a prime focus of the IT Plan. He would like the site to be a resource for the community, where they could look first for all kinds of information. He would like, for example, for the public meetings to be available more quickly.
Mr. Penland agreed to review the Web sites of other nearby municipalities to determine which features could be helpful to our residents and employees. The members all viewed Upper Makefield’s site, which has been recognized with an award for excellence.
2, 3 and 5 Year IT Plan
Mr. Lipski said that he would like Allen Herr, the Township’s IT consultant, to attend meetings as the Technology Committee moves forward with the IT Plan. It is important that the members have a documented understanding of the Township’s current hardware and software. To make better use of Mr. Herr’s time, he would prepare a list of the Committee’s specific questions and ask Mr. Herr to prepare written responses in advance of his attendance at the committee meetings.
Mr. Gallagher suggested that the Committee prepare a proposal outlining the need for the consultant’s presence at evening meetings. He, as a supervisor, would be supportive of the use of Mr. Herr’s time.
The members agreed to meet electronically on “go-to-meeting” in two weeks to continue work on the plan draft.
Mr. Lipski said that he would attend the next Board meeting to report on the Committee’s work. He asked the recording secretary to add him to the next agenda.
Mr. Lipski moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mr. Penland seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary