EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Breaking News

Merrimack Valley

November 4, 2012

Zanni gets another try at IT privatization

METHUEN — After stumbling out of the gate in February, Mayor Stephen Zanni will get a second crack at privatizing the city’s Information Technology department starting tomorrow night.

The mayor will present the City Council with a “reorganization plan” for the four-employee municipal IT department that promises savings totalling $485,000 over the next 4 1/2 years.

Zanni said that savings estimate is conservative. With the help of a council subcommittee, the mayor has also selected a new private company to take control of the city’s IT responsibilities — Corporate IT Solutions of Norwood.

Zanni said eliminating the current municipal IT department in favor of contracting with Corporate IT Solutions will improve the efficiency of city employees and save taxpayers between $92,000 and $130,000 annually over the next four years.

“I’m talking about performance and cost savings,” said Zanni. “I hope that resonates with the rest of the council.”

The mayor’s proposal is expected to face several hurdles.

A majority of councilors have yet to get behind Zanni’s privatization effort. Several councilors interviewed Friday also raised questions about the process in which Corporate IT Solutions was picked.

That process began less than two months after Zanni took office in January.

IT privatization or outsourcing emerged as an early priority for the mayor. But his push to hire RetroFit Technologies, Inc., of Milford, in February was rejected by councilors, who believed the proposal should be put out to bid.

In response, Zanni quickly formed an IT subcommittee made up of Council Chairwoman Jennifer Kannan and councilors Jamie Atkinson and Ron Marsan.

Requests for private IT services were then sent out to 25 firms on the state’s approved bid list. The city received six responses, which the subcommittee later narrowed down to three finalists: RetroFit, Corporate IT Solutions, and HiQ of Boston.

A round of site visits and interviews followed. The subcommittee was initially expected to present several finalists to the City Council, but HiQ was eventually dropped, and more recently Corporate IT Solutions was picked over Retrofit.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Merrimack Valley

Eagle-Tribune News Videos
Photos of the Week