Anthony Frisa, the city’s new information technology manager enthusiastically moved back and forth between his desk and the nearby IT room — which seemed more like a storage closet — pointing out how the equipment displayed on his computer monitor would fit into what he hoped would become Glen Cove’s “robust high availability system.” In other words, how he wanted to take the tangle of wires and hodge-podge of hardware that currently supports all of the city’s digital infrastructure, and turn it into an organized, efficient, well oiled machine.
“What needs to be done,” he said, “is a complete revamp of the infrastructure.”
Frisa’s top priority is redundancy. It is so important to him that he un-ironically said the word five times in under a minute, explaining the different domains — servers, switches, local networks — where he wants to see it implemented.
In its common usage, being redundant is likely to mean that one is a dull conversationalist, or prone to inefficiencies. But to an information engineer like Frisa, redundancy suggests reliability; a way to spread out possible failure points to make a failure less likely; a safety net, so that if the network goes down on the second floor of City Hall, for example, it won’t take the fire department, the police department, the water department and the senior center down with it.
It’s part of a plan that Frisa calls, “disaster avoidance before disaster recovery, although on that front too, he wants to add separate storage sites to make sure that the city’s valuable information is backed up in multiple locations. “I’m not a fan of the all-the-eggs-in-one-basket type system,” he said.
Right now, Frisa’s plans are little more than a pipe dream. He knows the council will have to vote on — and pay for — each individual piece. But at this point, less than a month into his position, he said that he’s still evaluating the system he inherited.
There has been some controversy over Frisa’s appointment. At a few recent City Council meetings, former Deputy Mayor Barbara Peebles raised concerns over the firing of the former IT manager, whom she had helped to hire. She said that Frisa had been passed over for the job during their search for candidates but declined to say why. Council members refused to speak publically about personnel matters.
Additionally, the issue was raised over a contract for Total Technology, a company that had worked with the city several years earlier, to work with Frisa for the coming months to get him acclimated to the system they’d put in place.
Total Technology had come in “to kind of make sure that the system would be more reliable,” said Deputy Mayor Maureen Basdavanos. “Things seemed to just be ‘going out,’ and I think a lot of it had to do with the hardware.”
According to her, Frisa was doing well enough without the extra help. “We realized we didn’t need that,” she said.