School board supports shared IT committee



NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education has thrown its support behind an ordinance to create a technology committee in conjunction with the borough.

The committee would look into and help facilitate the sharing of information technology services between the borough’s municipal government and the school board. The ordinance was presented during the schools board’s meeting on Jan. 9. The board unanimously supported it.

Mayor Robert Mezzo, who sits on the school board, said the idea for the committee emanated from the long-term strategic planning report created by the consulting firm Blum, Shapiro & Co. One of the recommendations of the report was for the borough and board to combine as many services as possible, including information technologies.

Since then, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses has drafted an ordinance to create the committee. The borough already has an ad hoc IT committee.

“This is formalizing that to say this is a very important function of our government,” Mezzo said.

According to a draft of the ordinance, the committee will have seven members appointed by the mayor and/or superintendent of schools. At least three of the members have to have at least five years of experience in the IT field.

“The process in here is envisioned, much like any other committee we have, we would solicit involvement by various individuals. An important part of this is that we do not require residency so we can get individuals who may work in Naugatuck in the private sector but don’t live here to provide input to it,” Mezzo said.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Chris Montini said the ordinance doesn’t mandate shared services and the school board would maintain sole authority over its employees.

Mezzo said the borough board was not going to act on approving the ordinance until the Board of Education had a chance to review it.

“The Board of Mayor and Burgesses has seen this, but the process of shared services involves trust, so we did not want to pass an ordinance that, in reality, we have no legal authority to impose on the Board of Education,” Mezzo said.

Board of Education member Glenn Connan immediately threw his support behind this ordinance.

“I think this board has been crystal clear on the direction of wanting to share as many services as possible. We should go ahead on everything, take an all the above approach,” Connan said.

Mezzo agreed with the need to share services but felt that it was important to ask permission rather than just assume that everyone would give their support.

“We don’t want to presume that board members who, under state statute, have authority to act independently would automatically feel comfortable if the borough board passed an ordinance without your involvement and input,” Mezzo said.

Board of Education Chairman David Heller said the board has worked hard to share services with the borough to both their benefits.

“I think the benefit has been evident and it has certainly been beneficial to taxpayers. I think this is another opportunity for us to collaborate and do what we need to do to get input from all the shining stars and bright minds in this field that have knowledge and have experience they can share with us and help us, because as we know it is so very, very important,” Heller said.

The borough board will now have to vote to officially enact the ordinance.