July 10--METHUEN -- As head of the Information Technology department for the city, Methuen native John Molori enjoyed eight years of not wearing a tie to work. When he returned to the mayor's office last week, a change of wardrobe was in order.
"People don't think I own ties or know how to button a shirt, but I can," he joked.
In fact, Mayor Stephen Zanni is the second Methuen mayor to select Molori to serve as executive secretary, an aide to the mayor who deals with the public, the press and any number of other day-to-day activities.
Under former Mayor Sharon Pollard, Molori says he developed an enthusiasm for getting involved in the city in a hands-on way. Following her term, Molori was selected as head of the Information Technology department, but when IT became privatized in May, he was excited to return upstairs.
"I think the transition has actually gone really well. I think it's ongoing. There will definitely be some changes as to how IT is done and how requests are responded to in the city, but I think the early returns are really positive. I think they're going to do a good job," Molori said.
He has been working one-on-one with Corporate IT, the Norwood-based company now responsible for ironing out computer glitches across all of the city's departments, including city hall, police and fire.
The city council unanimously approved Zanni's proposal privatizing the IT department in May. It was the mayor's third attempt to outsource IT work to a private company since he first took office in 2012. Four IT positions were cut, though only three of the positions were filled at the time. Molori was the only employee to move to another job within city hall. Former IT employee Peter Stone was offered a position in the Department of Public Works, but turned it down. The move to privatize will save the city $536,617 over the course of five years, according to Zanni.
Corporate IT officially took over on July 1, though the move was approved in mid-May. Through two months of helping to transition the computer system and preparing to reclaim the executive secretary role, Molori has been an asset, Zanni said.
"It has been good to have someone who could hit the ground running instead of having to deal with a learning curve," Zanni said.
The executive secretary position was left open after Philip DeCologero, a longtime North Andover resident, resigned to run for state representative. He is one of two challengers Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, will face in November.
"John has picked up that slack and I think we're back in a good way to get things done here in a timely fashion," Zanni said.
Molori said one of his goals is to look at contracts in the city and work collaboratively with its boards and commissions. He has personally served on the Methuen Cable Advisory Commission, and said he feels that recruiting or retaining the right people for similar groups helps to strengthen the community.
"You end up getting involved in a lot of different things. It's a really good team atmosphere. You get to put your two cents in," Molori said. "For me, as a Methuen native and someone who still lives here, it's even more fun because you get to directly impact your community."
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