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January 4, 2013

Private firm: Methuen's IT department 'deeply flawed'

Hearing held in anticipation of Monday vote


Zanni originally projected $485,000 in savings over 4 1/2 years under his IT plan, but revised it Dec. 17 to $925,224 over five years. That change did not sit well with some councilors last night.

“Lo and behold, miracles happen,” said Councilor Tom Ciulla. “It’s just very frustrating to me. You look at one number and then the number changes.”

Leading the charge with the strongest opposition to Zanni’s proposal was City Council Chairwoman Jennifer Kannan. During the most heated moment last night, Pappalardo was forced to bang her gavel to stop Kannan and Zanni from talking over one another.

Like Kannan, councilors Jamie Atkinson and Sean Fountain also questioned Zanni’s savings projection.

“These numbers have changed so much,” said Fountain. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

Michael Condon was the only councilor absent from the meeting. Five members of the public spoke at the hearing, including Diane Ayer of Edgewood Avenue. Ayer said she works for large company that outsourced their IT services several years ago.

“It’s a struggle at first because you have to adjust,” said Ayer. “But it’s the best thing we could have done for the company.”

Also submitted to the council was a letter in support of privatization that was signed by close to 40 residents.

“Most of us cannot afford to continue to support growing annual municipal budgets when we are not seeing our own incomes increase!” reads the letter. “If privatization can provide better services and save us hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, we believe it is incumbent upon you, our representatives, to pursue such opportunities.”

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