Minutes of the meeting of May 31, 2011
The Newtown Township Technology Committee met on May 31, 2011 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Ed Lipski, Vice Chairman Anand Shukla, Kyle Davis, Dan Paramesh, Bob Penland, Prasad Ramnath and Jon Schnell, members and Township Technology Consultant Alan Herr.
Call to Order: Mr. Lipski called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Lipski moved to approve the minutes of April 26, 2011. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Mr. Lipski said that he had invited Mr. Herr to attend the meeting to discuss the Township’s technology capital budget and recovery plan.
Mr. Herr provided members with his recommended budget for next year, which includes a server replacement program with a 5-year cycle, Pc replacement with a 5-year cycle, the addition of three wireless access points and software licenses.
The members discussed the wiring in the building and the necessity to extend wireless access to the two community rooms and the public meeting room. Wireless access in the public meeting room could be useful in transmission to the video booth. Mr. Herr noted that this had been cut from the 2011 budget.
Mr. Herr discussed the importance of updating the licenses; the Township is currently using a mix of different versions of Office. He said that he sees some difficulty in extending the open office software to all of the employees. There are certain tasks that are not easily transferrable to open office and the learning curve has been difficult to overcome. The open office software is not compatible with the software used by the Police Department. Mr. Herr noted that he has seen attempts to switch to open office be unsuccessful in other locations.
The members discussed cloud computing and its possible use in the Township. Mr. Herr said that it could be useful if the Township were to switch its current financial applications.
Mr. Penland said that using cloud computing could move budget from capital to operating expenses.
Mr. Herr provided a printout of the servers and reviewed their uses and their replacement plan. He noted that the finance server seven years old. He briefly discussed Docstar, noting that it does have tape back-up. He suggested that the Committee could be helpful in researching alternative document management systems.
Mr. Davis agreed to research other document management products.
The Committee discussed disaster recovery. This should be part of the Committee’s 5 year plan.
Mr. Schnell said that going forward the Committee will need to evaluate critical applications and critical access. A second data center and redundancy are needed.
Mr. Herr said that a server could be set up in the Public Works Building for business continuity in the event of a failure. Priorities would have to be set, including police, finance and to some extent, codes.
Going forward, the Committee agreed to work with Mr. Herr on PC replacement, software licenses, wireless access, server replacement and business continuity. Mr. Lipski stressed that it is essential to update licenses on software.
Regarding disaster recovery, Mr. Herr said that he would like to recommend off-site data back-up using a service like Iron Mountain.
The members agreed to continue the discussion of disaster recovery and business continuity at their next “live meeting.” All agreed to participate in the “live meeting” on June 14. The meeting would also include working on the 5 year plan document.
Mr. Shukla reported that the survey would be circulated among employees this week. He hoped that some responses would be available by the “live meeting.”
The meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary