I have looked through a few manuals, and have read about persistent connections. There are a few good articles online about it as well. I will look into it some more, so I understand it better, thanks.
As for the accounts -- we want each user to have seperate accounts. Each user is a sales rep that has specific information that only they should have access to (for example, appointments or notes about clients). What my boss proposes is that the connection to MySQL be an "all access" username and password, and that we would build the user security ourselves in front of it. I just don't know how secure it will be, and whether this is SOP when building PHP apps.