Saturday, January 16, 2010

Payne Resigns from PPS

The impending resignation of Chris Payne from the Plainfield Public Schools may mean the city's elusive IT goals are nearing resolution.

Payne is resigning as coordinator of Information Technology and Support Services after nine years with the district. His resignation will be up for a vote at the Board of Education's Jan. 19 meeting. It will take effect Feb. 5.

Payne led a shared services effort to upgrade city IT uses a couple of years ago, but the plan halted abruptly. Meanwhile, the city administration and council clashed over what was needed for a permanent IT division in terms of personnel and cost. It was not until the final fourth year of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' first term that the City Council approved a title and salary band for the position.

If as many expect Payne is in line for the city job, his new title would be "Manager I of Information Processing" with a salary range of $70,000 to $110,000. The city wants an IT manager also to be in charge of its local cable television operation and its public information functions. The question of how much staff support will be needed is still open.

The administration will not need City Council approval to hire an IT manager, nor will a council Information Technology committee have any input on the hire, officials said last year.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope they don't hire Chris Payne. He is resigning from the school system for reasons unknown. We need new blood, not the same old patronage and same old ideas. What are his qualifications to run the IT division? I hope that he is not allowed to bring a so-called "staff" with him from the school system. Many of us are watching carefully to see who is hired in this position. All eyes are on this hire. This mayor has an opportunity to provide us with new and competent people. The job of a municipal government is NOT to provide jobs to cronies. When will she learn this?

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Alan Goldstein said...

The IT Manager should be a technical guru who keeps the city connected and efficient. This is entirely separate from providing information and content the city seeks to disseminate. Combining these two will make this position next to worthless. If the IT Manager is not a technical person exclusively, the City Council needs to stop this position from being filled.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Payne?

Oh, aren't we all so ever surprised. I never would have guessed in a million years.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a crock! When were interviews held? Who was on the committee? This is typical Plainfield - dole out jobs. Has anyone given any thought about how "posting" to the website has anything to do with an IT manager? Get an technolocy plan and vison - let the people follow after that is in place.

Oh wait... Let me guess, the new IT person for PPS will be from Florida - well no credentials needed for that position

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well.... things are exactly the same because the same people are in office. I hope all who comment and are frustrated with the way things are in Plainfield voted, and voted for people other than the mayor and JG.

If you did not vote, or voted for the mayor and JG, keep quiet. You got what you wanted.

And for those who voted for the mayor, wait until you see your tax bill!

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This position, ideally, should be filled by someone with experience on several different fronts:

1. They understand current technology, understand the plus and minus of any approach or software. This means making the decision whether to build in-house (expensive) or to purchase off-the-shelf technology (there are a lot out there, I researched for Rashid and Dashield) -- but make the determination the sizing of the city needs, long term needs and group and how to integrate different technologies.

2. IT's purpose is to maximize working efficiency. The person needs to be able to interview and understand the city's business, the work flow, how technology can streamline the work flow, where the inefficiency is, where training is needed.

3. They need to be able to present a multi-year plan, stay within budget, be able to identify the city's needs and prioritize. While the web site is a visible need, the highest need is a computerized accounting system, which integrates the financial activity of all the city's divisions. The fact the city still does it's accounting on paper boggles the mind.

4. They should have a background in data and system architecture. Ultimately, any meaningful system is about storing, relating and sharing your data .. then putting different applications, networks and databases together in a cohesive whole, with the least amount of system maintenance.

5. There needs to be a plan to migrate historical data held on paper to databases or digital form.

6. With any new application, there needs to be training. Most of the employees in city hall don't know how to work a computer. Employees would need training, as well as citizens. Also with a schedule for implementation of new applications, you need user training -- as well as allowing for feedback. If I were walking into this situation, I would have focus groups and build an employee and citizen "wish list". You then measure any technical solution against that wish list, how it delivers and at what cost.

I felt the "shared services" was a fiasco -- lots of cost ($100,000) and a very poor end result (very minimal website). if this individual was the architect of the project and delivery -- this person is not the right person in this position.

Olive Lynch

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Luck Chris,

The board is loosing a visionary, the City just got better.

Good Luck.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not unusual for someone to resign one job in order to take another. I agree that it's a step up for the city as well as for Chris.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I nominate Olive! She seems to know more about this position than anyone. However, for the expertise that she describes, $110,000 would be chicken feed.

The new person will need at least 2 or 3 employees to get the work done that needs to be done. I hope they don't stick the new hire with responsibilities for half a dozen jobs, none of which will get done effectively.

3:56 PM  

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