Newtown Township

Technology Committee

Minutes of the meeting of March 26, 2013

Present: Chairman Kyle Davis and members Ed Lipski, Bob Penland and Jon Schnell.

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

Organization of Committee: Mr. Lipski nominated Mr. Penland to serve as vice chairman. Mr. Schnell seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Approval of Minutes: Mr. Schnell moved to accept the minutes of February 26, 2013. Mr. Lipski seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

New Business: Mr. Davis reported that he has posted all of the Technology documents, including drafts of the 5-year plan, minutes, agendas and e-mail discussions in Google Docs. All members are editors and can add and revise documents. The recording secretary will add minutes and agendas and notify the members rather than send them as attachments.

Township Web site: Mr. Davis said that he and Mr. Lipski spoke to Supervisors Chairman Mike Gallagher about the Committee’s recommended goals. Website enhancement was considered a priority as funds become available. Mr. Gallagher said that Township Manager Kurt Ferguson has already been speaking to the Township consultant Alan Herr about the addition of commercial real estate spaces available.

Report to Board of Supervisors: Mr. Davis said that he would like to meet with the Board of Supervisors, preferably at a work session, to discuss the immediate focus of the committee and to establish long term goals. Before the members make further efforts on researching possible projects it would be important to know what the Supervisors would like to accomplish during the coming years and to get some guidance as to possible budgeting for those projects.

The members agreed that items to be discussed would be:

  • Web site upgrade/enhancement
  • Document management
  • Development of a 5-year plan
  • A data back-up policy
  • Licensing of software
  • Hardware and software replacement/upgrade plan

Mr. Lipski said that a resident recently approached him about a Township Facebook page as a way to keep residents informed of news and upcoming events.

Mr. Schnell noted that this would need to be carefully managed by a staff member to be certain that information is accurate and that outdated information is removed. This could be an issue with a short-staffed technology department.

Mr. Penland said that he has followed a few Facebook pages dedicated to specific Township issues such as the trailer park and McDonald’s. Some of the comments were very inappropriate and some gave the impression of being factual but were not. He suggested that any consideration of a Facebook presence would not include commentary.

The members were in agreement that as society changes, the Township should review its standard methods of communication with residents. Expectations have changed as people rely more on Facebook type communications and are less proactive in researching topics of interest, waiting instead for notifications on Facebook.

Mr. Davis said that he would add Facebook to the list of topics to be discussed with the Supervisors. He would suggest that the Township develop an overall communication plan and policy.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary