Newtown Township

Technology Committee

Minutes of the meeting of March 27, 2012

Present: Chairman Ed Lipski, Vice-Chairman Bob Penland, and members Kyle Davis, Prasad Ramnath and Jon Schnell. Also in attendance was Supervisor Liaison Michael Gallagher

Call to Order: Mr. Lipski called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes: Mr. Penland moved to accept the minutes of January 31, 2012. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Five Year Plan Update: Mr. Lipski suggested that members of the Committee plan to meet with Codes Department employees to discuss the Department’s use of Docstar before making any recommendations to upgrade or change the current document management system.

Mr. Davis said that he would contact Martin Vogt, the code enforcement consultant to arrange either a conference call or in-person meeting with the Department. Mr. Penland and Mr. Ramnath would both be able to attend a meeting at the Township office during the week.

Mr. Ramnath said that he would prepare an excel spreadsheet of the tasks to be done and those already accomplished for the plan. This would also help later in organizing the final document. Using Google Docs, the Committee members could have input on the spreadsheet.

Mr. Gallagher said that he had been looking into using Google Docs for the Township. He had spoken to “Cloud Sherpas” about this; the cost would be about $50 per user per year and would combine the Web site using as the domain. This change could save a great deal of money on Office licenses and file servers. Google Docs does not have a document management system, however, so would not be an archiving solution. There is also an initial set-up cost of about $2500. He asked the Committee to help review this concept.

Mr. Lipski noted that the Police Department and Park and Rec had a number of difficulties with open office software; he questioned whether there might be similar difficulties with Google Docs.

Mr. Gallagher said that tech support is included with the $2500 fee, but if certain users continued to need Office for Excel or other programs, the Township’s costs would still be reduced.

Mr. Penland said that his experience with Google Docs tech support had been through e-mail only. He did not think telephone support was available. This could prove a difficulty for Township users who are not technologically comfortable.

Mr. Ramnath said that he had heard that Google Docs tech support was lacking, as well. This would need to be investigated before a decision is made. If Google Docs does not have good tech support, then Cloud Sherpas would have to offer support.

Mr. Gallagher suggested that the Committee investigate which users would continue to need the Office suite. He said that perhaps once identified, it might be possible to still provide Office to one user per department. He also said that the Police Department needs more security and might still need its own server.

Mr. Penland said that he would also like to do a cost and product comparison with Office 365, which is cloud based.

Mr. Schnell said that he has been investigating the Police need for faxes and whether there is an electronic solution, rather than a paper fax. He asked Mr. Gallagher to provide him with information on the Township’s telecom systems.

Mr. Gallagher said that he understood that the Committee has also discussed the Township’s accounting/financial software. He did not think the Finance Department or the Financial Planning Committee had any recommendations to change the current AMS system. He suggested that the Financial Planning Committee might be better suited to investigate whether the AMS should be replaced.

Mr. Davis agreed to reach out to the Financial Planning Committee to discuss this.

Other Business: The recording secretary reported that Leck & Son will be hosting an electronic recycling event at the Township Public Works Building on Saturday morning, May 19 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This event is a first for Leck, so is not being widely publicized. It is open to Township residents, only. It will be a drive through event, with Leck employees removing things to be recycled directly from car trunks. Only electronics such as computers, monitors, TV’s, radios, VCR’s, DVD players, stereos, telephone and cameras would be accepted. No hazardous waste, kitchen electrics, batteries, florescent lights and other electric appliances would be accepted.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.


Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary