EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 12, 2012

Zanni will resubmit IT plan

METHUEN — Mayor Stephen Zanni has withdrawn his IT privatization plan with the intention of resubmitting a nearly-identical proposal to the City Council on Monday.

Zanni said he withdrew the IT plan yesterday with the intention of making a few small changes.

“Basically, it’s the same plan,” said Zanni. “What I want to do is follow process.”

The mayor wants to eliminate the four-employee municipal Information Technology department and replace it with services from Corporate IT Solutions, a private firm based in Norwood.

He believes the city will save $485,000 over the next 4 1/2 years as a result.

Zanni submitted an IT reorganization plan to the council in late October, but he said the council did not hold a public hearing on the plan within the 30-day time slot allotted in the city charter.

By resubmitting the plan Monday, Zanni said the council can proceed with a public hearing Jan. 3. The hearing will feature a presentation by representatives of Corporate IT Solutions. A deciding council vote on IT privatization would then follow Jan. 7, Zanni said.

Zanni’s decision to withdraw the plan represents a reversal from his stance in a Tuesday memo to councilors.

“I have reviewed the contents of my proposed reorganization and have determined that there is no need to amend, modify, or resubmit the proposal, as it accurately represents my intentions,” wrote Zanni.

The mayor’s reversal is the latest chapter in what has become a increasingly contentious issue.

“I definitely feel that this process could have been done better,” said City Councilor Jennifer Kannan. “That’s fair to say.”

City Councilor Jamie Atkinson said Zanni is disregarding the council’s opinion on IT privatization.

“He doesn’t realize that our opinion counts,” said Atkinson. “We were elected to represent the people of Methuen not Zanniville.”

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