In the wake of two city website outages, a search is under way for a new city information technology (IT) director.
In a memo to the Haverhill city council, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said an opening for the position, funded in the new city budget passed on Tuesday, is being advertised.
“A year ago, without any fanfare or controversy, we outsourced most of our IT functions. To be frank, it has not worked out as well as I had hoped,” Fiorentini said. “While I am very happy with some of the back office work, I am concerned that there is an overall lack of direction in the department and that there is no overall and overarching IT plan.”
The move comes after the website, “ci.haverhill.ma.us,” went offline, as reported by WHAV, during the Memorial Day holiday weekend in May, as well as for more than 24 hours during the Patriots Day holiday in April. During those holidays, residents were unable to pay water bills or taxes online or access public information including meeting agendas for the city council and other elected or appointed city panels.
As for the April, Patriot’s Day holiday outage, GreenNet’s Nelson Valverde confirmed the city failed to pay its bill. He said his employees did not take the city’s services offline, but rather it was done automatically. “It’s an automated service. We put it back and assumed they will eventually pay,” he added.
GreenNet does not host the city’s website, but rather controls how Internet computers reach the Web address—known as Domain Name System (DNS) service. He said it is not easy to move the service, but he would work with the city if they choose to do so.
Haverhill Finance Director Andrew Vanni has also served as head of the IT department. His total salary of $111,000 includes $5,000 to supervise IT. He told WHAV in April, “There was a technical issue with the host that supports our website. There’s nothing we can do. We might be looking for a new firm going forward.”