July 24. 2016 1:02PM Ellis to become Melrose's new IT director By Aaron Leibowitz
Melrose has found a new Information Technology Director following the departure of Jorge Pazos.
Neal Ellis, who created an IT department for the Wilmington Public Schools and has worked there since 2005, will step into the new role Sept. 6, assuming he receives the approval of the Board of Aldermen next month.
Ellis, 41, is married to City Engineer Elena Proakis Ellis, who began working for the city last November. After speaking with her and others, Ellis said he was impressed with the direction in which Melrose is headed.
“The mayor’s vision is progressive, as is the superintendent’s,” Ellis said. “I met with them and I was just really impressed with where they want to go.”
Ellis described Superintendent Cyndy Taymore as “very tech forward.” While the Melrose Public Schools have their own IT operation, Ellis hopes to leverage his school background to engage teachers and students and to narrow the gap between the city and school IT departments.
Last October, the Board of Aldermen allocated $1.5 million over five years to upgrade technology across the schools, police and fire departments, City Hall and DPW. That allowed for the deployment of 1,100 Chromebooks in the schools.
Ellis said Melrose is in a good position in terms of its hardware infrastructure, and that the key is ensuring city employees know how to make it work for them.
“A lot of the infrastructure, in terms of switching a lot of the hardware that’s behind the scenes, was taken care of, done correctly,” Ellis said. “[But] it’s kind of like if a tree falls in the forest, if you set up a million dollars in infrastrcuture and no one can use it.”
Ellis will be responsible for the city’s cyber security, which can seem at times like a tall task. In February, the Melrose Police Department was forced to pay a Bitcoin ransom after a virus on a detective’s laptop infected the police network.
“Some of those things are unavoidable, some of them are avoidable, and it’s just a matter of keeping on top of what’s out there,” said Ellis, noting that the city recently installed a new state-of-the-art firewall. “There are a lot of things you can do to curb malware and viruses.”...
Did you notice how silent the city was about the breach of the police dept. firewall? Maybe this guy is great, but was he the only choice? So two six-figure salaries from the same city payroll to one household? How come this administration doesn't even appear to care about the appearance of impropriety???? And why does every new employee have to do the gush and brown-nosing thing? Can't anyone be hired who is simply qualified and professional?
Now you know why so many people distrust the city administration, elected officials and school system. Voters defeated the override by a landslide. Now nepotism has destroyed any trust or goodwill the new tech hire may have received from residents. Voters are watching the revolving chairs of unqualified/connected hires...can't wait to see the 1st performance by Farrell as business manager!
Reputation and integrity can be lost in a minute. It is almost never repaired and the damage is often permanent. The new IT director made a stupid (but calculated) start! ugh......
No qualified applicants until the husband showed up???
How can citizens take this stuff seriously? Even if this guy is qualified, he is suspect because he's married to the city engineer! Private companies take pains to avoid this setup.
The city job listings are "Friends & Family Day" only.
Stating the obvious but all these overlapping personal relationships allow everybody to cover for everybody else. There will never be a straight truthful story coming out of city hall this way. Same for the school system.