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Monday, February 10,2014

Kids in the Hall

Council unanimously approves $2.2 million technology plan; more seating arrangement drama

by Andy Balaskovitz
Monday, Feb. 10 — The Lansing City Council unanimously approved plans tonight for going forward with a $2.2 million overhaul of the city’s technology infrastructure.

As part of a plan proposed last year by Mayor Virg Bernero, the city hopes to increase productivity and more easily share information between residents and departments. The Council’s vote tonight gives a “notice of intent” to issue up to $2.5 million in bonds for the upgrades.

Tentative projects total $2.2 million and are spread across several departments. Over $1 million of the spending is meant for “business projects,” which includes $463,000 for an asset management system for the Public Service Department and a $200,000 “on-line plan review” for the Department of Planning and Neighborhood Development.

Another $865,000 is planned for infrastructure projects, including phone system upgrades, “replacing core switches” and “disaster recovery redundancy and information security.”

“Information technology drives what we do as a city,” said Randy Hannan, Mayor Virg Bernero’s chief of staff. “It’s incumbent on us to keep up with those changes or fall behind.”

The city plans to unroll the changes over the next two years.

In other business, it appears last month’s drama over a new seating arrangement introduced by Council President A’Lynne Boles isn’t quite settled. More on that dispute here.

Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar sponsored a resolution that would have given the Council president the power to change seating arrangements at the dais. It was meant to settle the dispute after disagreement between Boles and City Attorney Janene McIntyre over whether the president can. (McIntyre said the City Charter doesn’t allow it; Boles believes it does.)

Anyway, Boles pulled the resolution — which would have cleared up any dispute over her authority — just prior to a vote tonight because of the way it was brought forward. Boles didn’t appreciate the fact that it was added to the Council agenda on Friday and Council staff didn’t review it.

When Dunbar asked for a point of order to discuss it, Boles gaveled her down and found her out of order.
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