NAUGATUCK — The borough and school board are now officially taking a collaborative approach towards information technology.
During it’s meeting on Feb. 4 the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a new ordinance to create an information technology commission.
The commission will be made up of municipal and school officials as well as volunteer community members with a background in information technology or related fields. The commission is tasked with overseeing and evaluating the long-term needs of the borough’s and Board of Education’s technology functions and capacities.
“This is very forward thinking. This is a novel approach, seeing collaboration to this extent between the Board of Education and municipal legislative bodies. It’s something that is probably long overdue but is very rarely seen. This is quite a step,” Borough Attorney Ned Fitzpatrick said.
Mayor Robert Mezzo said having a shared information technology commission created through an ordinance is practically unheard of in Connecticut.
“As far as I know the only other community to recognize the importance of this by ordinance is Hamden. A lot of work was done to model our ordinance after that,” Mezzo said.
While he agreed with the need to create such a commission, Burgess Michael Bronko questioned why the ordinance had to give the Board of Education the same authority as the Board of Mayor and Burgesses when selecting members.
“I can understand a collaboration between the mayor and superintendent to pick people for the commission, but to have it be subject to the approval of both our board and the Board of Education, I’m just not getting it,” said Bronko, who was the only burgess to vote against the ordinance. “Why would we want to give that control and that power to the Board of Education, who is already an autonomous organization?”
Mezzo said the school board has equal say so that neither it nor the municipal side feel that they are being taken of advantage of or left out of a decision that will affect the way business is done.
“This is something you won’t see in many other communities, and it’s the ultimate type of shared services arrangement where both sides are vested without control being exerted by one over the other in such a degree that neither feels comfortable,” Mezzo said.
Bronko felt regardless of the purpose, the ordinance gave the Board of Education too much power.
“I can understand the collaboration with the Board of Education as we’ve been doing for the past few years, and I think it has been very good for the borough. But, for me, to take an ordinance and give that type of power to an autonomous board, in this case the Board of Education, and to include them in something like this, I don’t know if I can agree with that,” Bronko said.
Mezzo said the only power the ordinance grants the Board of Education is approval of who serves on the committee. Any decision the committee makes would ultimately have to be ratified by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses, he said.