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Software deal OK'd; Soucy seat filled on Manchester school board

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 19. 2013 11:41PM

MANCHESTER - The Board of Mayor and Aldermen has signed off on an agreement to sever its contract with its software provider and return to the company that built its current system.

The vote brings to an end two years of controversy and debate over the software deal.

Under the agreement worked out by city finance and legal officials, the current contract with Harris Computer Systems will end at the end of the month as scheduled and SunGard Public Sector will take over maintenance of the system.

The city will return a $200,000 performance bond to Harris, and the company will pay the city $30,000.

The city will pay SunGard $250,000 for services the remainder of this year and $194,000 for the next fiscal year, with a maximum 3 percent increase in the second year of the contract.

The city had been paying roughly $220,000 a year to Harris for software services.

A portion of the money paid to SunGard will be set aside for an upgraded system, One Solution, should the city choose to purchase it.

Two years ago the aldermen voted to award its software contract to Innoprise, which was subsequently purchased by Harris. At the time, Innoprise promised that it would provide a needed overhaul to an outdated computer system that handles everything from payroll to building permits. Amid company legal problems, these plans never came to fruition.

Finance Director Bill Sanders told the aldermen Tuesday that the special committee that handled the deal was satisfied with the agreements.

"We're delighted we're actually getting $30,000 out of this," he said.

Ward 12 Alderman and mayoral candidate Patrick Arnold, who has been critical of the original software deal, told Sanders, "Thank you for all your work on this," and did not say anything more about the agreement.

Bergeron confirmed

In other business Tuesday, the aldermen voted to confirm Dan Bergeron to fill the seat on the Board of School Committee left vacant by the resignation of Donna Soucy.

Soucy stepped down earlier this month, citing her duties as a newly elected state senator.

After considerable debate, the aldermen voted to suspend the two-week review period for new nominees.

Ward 6 Alderman Garth Corriveau nominated Bergeron to fill the Ward 6 school board seat and argued for the suspension of rules, citing the likelihood that the school board would be voting on a new superintendent in two weeks.

The only "no" vote for suspending the rules came from Ward 4 Alderman Jim Roy, who said it would conflict the board's past policy. He also criticized Soucy's resignation.

"I find it hard to believe the incumbent did not know the work that would be required of her in the Senate when she chose to resign," Roy said.

Bergeron is on the board of the Manchester Transit Authority and has two children who attend district schools. He works in software support and sales, and is an adjunct professor at Daniel Webster College.

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