Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


February 20, 2014

Formal vote lacking on computer lease Some say laptop approval was previously granted


The issue is likely to come up again soon — when next fiscal year’s budget for the Information Technology Department is reviewed, and again when the school budget is analyzed.

Who knew what, when?

According to School Committee member Paula Colby-Clements, many people knew about the lease deal. At a Dec. 9 joint meeting of the School Committee, Finance Committee and selectmen, known as the Tri-Board, she said the matter was discussed at a meeting on Good Friday last year when Stapczynski and the IT director made a presentation on the $2.5 million IT-1 plan approved by Town Meeting.

Colby-Clements said all of the former committee chairmen, including Selectman Paul Salafia, Finance Committee Chairman Jon Stumpf and she herself were at the meeting.

Neither Stumpf or Salafia said they could recall the meeting. But after reviewing his notes, Stumpf said while he was, indeed, in attendance, he had no recollection of discussing the additional computers.

“There was a meeting,” Stumpf said, “but I did not see anything in my notes about the number of devices (laptops) going from 400 to 560.”

Salafia also did not remember authorizing the additional leases. “We didn’t take a vote on it. We didn’t authorize it and we weren’t informed about it at the chairs’ meeting,” he said.

Minutes of that meeting do not appear to exist since it was not an advertised session given there was not a quorum of elected officials from any of the various boards present, Town Clerk Larry Murphy said.

School Committee informed?

According to Colby-Clements, the issue of the 160 additional leases was “brought back to the School Committee at a budget subcommittee meeting,” she said during the Dec. 9 Tri-Board meeting.

However, School Committee member David Birnbach disputed that assertion. “Absolutely not. I totally disagree. This is all news to me,” he said.

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