Minutes for first meeting of the Technology Committee (proposed new ISAC Affiliate Group) on Friday, August 3rd, in Des Moines. Notes from meeting with ISAC are attached.
Ken Agey, GIS Manager (Polk)
Robert Canney, MIS Director (Black Hawk)
Wayne Chizek, GIS Director (Marshall)
Micah Cutler, GIS Administrator (Harrison)
Joyce Horner, Business Liaison (Marshall)
Dean Neal, Deputy Auditor/Recorder (Woodbury)
Jim Rice, MIS Director (Cerro Gordo)
Jason Siebrecht, GIS Coordinator (Linn)
Scott Williams, IS Director (Marshall)
Ray Willis, Mapping Specialist (Polk)
Wayne Chizek initiated the meeting and developed the agenda based on input from the group prior to the meeting. Wayne had also scheduled a meeting with Bill Peterson, ISAC director, to discuss the possibility of establishing a new affiliate group within the ISAC organization that would focus on the IS/IT/GIS functions of county government.
1. Introductions and opening comments about the need for a county level technology group and whether established organizations such as IGIC, GMIS or existing ISAC affiliates could meet the group’s needs.
Jason: IGIC has been failing to provide a structure that fosters the sharing of technology and sharing of common day-to-day experiences and stories.
Dean: Had tried several times to get Ann Peton, former State GIS Coordinator, to present at ISAC. He had also tried and been unsuccessful at getting answers to specific GIS questions.
Ken: Thought that a county level group would be the best suited for establishing GIS standards for sharing of data. Polk now has several cities that are struggling with combining GIS data from two, or (in the case of West Des Moines) even four counties.
Micah: Sees IGIC as dealing with more of an academic level of GIS. There is a need to have a group that can act as a repository for more detailed information.
Jim: An ISAC Technology Affiliate could help to even out the knowledge base between the technological have/have-not counties. Counties who have succeeded in establishing web sites, for example, could give advice to those trying to establish web sites without the bias introduced from the vendor community.
Scott: ISAC can give the group immediate access to the state legislative process. Feels that GMIS (Government Management Information Sciences, an international group made up of State, County, and Local government agencies and educational institutions) is functioning at a certain level to coordinate city and county level GIS efforts.
Joyce: Joyce agreed with Jim about the larger counties who have been involved in technology providing support to smaller counties and also looking to each other for support.
Bob: Indicated that he had been involved with GMIS from its beginning in Iowa. Has been trying to get ISAC interested in a Technology affiliate for many years. Noted that there had been a Technology group meeting at one of the past ISAC conferences.
Ray: Agreed with Micah about IGIC having more of an academic slant. Noted that Alan Jensen, the new State GIS Coordinator, has not had much time yet to establish himself. Feels that there are rolls to fill for both IGIC and an ISAC affiliate.
Wayne: ISAC would give the group an immediate legislative presence.
2. Determine Committee Structure.
Wayne Chizek – Chairperson
Jim Rice – Co-chair
Ray Willis – Secretary
3. Review current lists of County IT & GIS professionals.
Excel file developed from earlier efforts by several of the members attached.
4. Discuss statewide organization alternatives. (Can one new affiliate cover both IT and GIS or should we be looking at two new affiliates?)
General consensus that one new affiliate should be able to provide for both since there is so much overlap between IS and GIS interests.
General discussion about the merits of ISAC, GMIS, IGIC and forming a new independent state organization. All agreed that it would be too difficult to start an independent group.
Bob noted that there is a current effort to establish a new ISAC affiliate for county zoning officials.
General discussion and agreement that ISAC seems to provide the most benefits to a new affiliate in terms of professional, full-time staff, established structure for lobbying efforts and county government focus.
5. Discuss aspects of an ISAC Technology Affiliate.
A) Positive – A technology affiliate could bring first hand experiences and knowledge into ongoing county level discussions by other affiliates on issues like e-commerce.
B) Negative – Concern that one more affiliate might spread the ISAC staff and funding too thin.
C) What can we provide ISAC? – Technology affiliate would make ISAC more inclusive of county functions since no one office in county government is consistently responsible for IS/GIS functions; provide a body of knowledge on technical IS issues when new legislation is being introduced; provide other affiliates with sources of contact with IS technicians.
D) What can ISAC provide us? – ISAC would give IS/GIS technicians good exposure to the political side of county business; a forum for sharing practical GIS concepts, approaches, and solutions between both the technology have and have-nots; potential for grant applications on joint county IS/GIS projects; potential savings from bulk purchases of hardware and software.
6. Discuss what this committee would like to accomplish from our meeting with ISAC this afternoon.
A) To present our desire to becoming an ISAC affiliate.
B) To present our reasons for wanting to become an ISAC affiliate.
C) To obtain a thorough understanding of the process to become an ISAC affiliate and the
required time line for such a process.
D) To individually and as a group, get a feel for ISAC’s feelings toward a Technology Affiliate.
7. Next meeting date and Adjournment.
Tuesday, August 14th, 10:00 AM.
Location – Polk County Assessor’s Office conference room in the
Polk County Administrative Building at 2nd & Court, Des Moines.
Notes from meeting of afternoon of August 3rd, with Bill Peterson, ISAC Executive Director and David Vestal, Deputy Director and general council.
Introductions followed by Dave reviewing the current efforts by county zoning officials to establish a County Zoning Affiliate (COZO). There was an effort in the 80’s to establish a zoning affiliate which was voted down. The newest effort started in earnest last January. They met with other ISAC affiliates at the March conference to “lobby” for support from the other affiliates. Dave noted that the Board of Supervisor’s affiliate is a key affiliate for support.
The process Dave described is:
- Make presentation(s) to the ISAC Board of Directors. (Made up of 14 affiliates and the past ISAC president, the Iowa Director of NACO and also members from the National Association of Counties, 19 voting members in all. Note: The Supervisors have 3 voting members on the board.)
- Lobbying of other affiliates for support. (Generally includes presentations at ISAC conference.)
- If Board agrees, the issue is put to a vote of the general membership in attendance at either the March or November ISAC conference. (Everyone registered for the conference that is in attendance gets to vote. Must have a 2/3 majority for the issue to pass.)
- ISAC Articles of Incorporation would be changed to reflect the new affiliate. (Currently lists each affiliate and the total maximum number of board members (19) on the ISAC Board of Directors.)
Bill pointed out that our group could take advantage of many of the services provided by ISAC without becoming an affiliate. He told us that two groups, Public Health Nurses and Environmental Health Officials, had been established as affiliates and then asked to be removed. He told us that the membership structure was established so that each county paid the same dues no matter what its population size. This was a positive because no county had more influence than another but was also a negative because the dues are a significant budget burden for the smaller counties.
Bill and Dave gave us several suggestions about how to proceed if we wanted to become an affiliate. They strongly suggested that we establish bylaws that would be compatible with the current bylaws of other affiliates. The ISAC Board meets 6 to 7 times a year, usually once a month from September through March. We should put together a 45 minute to 1 hour presentation for one of the board meetings and be prepared to give it more than once. They indicated that there might be some resistance by affiliates made up of elected county officials to vote in a new affiliate made up of non-elected county employees. The perception being that having been elected and subject to being defeated in the next election, they are more directly accountable to the citizens of their county than non-elected county employees. Dave also pointed out that some might feel that the legislative concerns of a technology group are already represented by existing affiliates.
Bill repeated his comments that our group would not need to be an affiliate to take advantage of some of ISAC’s services. He suggested that we set up a separate Technology track at their 2002 conferences, possibly both the January meeting for “newly elected” county officials and the March conference. He thought a 1-day track specific to IS/GIS would have several benefits; helping us to identify potential members, consolidating the groups efforts on education and training, developing structure for the organization, helping us to formalize the process, subtly convincing the other affiliates that there is a need for a Technology Affiliate. ISAC can provide us some of the same benefits as the existing affiliates such as coordinating the two conferences, sending out newsletters, dealing with conference registration fees (currently $65 per registrant). Dave mentioned that ISAC’s new facilities on SW 7th will be available to not only current ISAC affiliates but any county group that would want to use the new conference rooms for meetings.
Dave observed that there are positive reasons for establishing a new affiliate. He thought bringing the technology side of county government into the ISAC group would be beneficial for all the affiliates. In particular the Recorders, who tend to be less technology oriented, but are trying to deal with the e-commerce issue. He saw our group as a great resource for the ISAC lobbying efforts as a pool of knowledge on the impact of new legislation on county operations.
Dave pointed out two obstacles that our group needs to overcome in order to get approved as an affiliate: first, the problem with the nebulous definition of a technology affiliate. Are we programmers,
cartographers, GIS specialists, or are we a combination of auditor/network specialist, assessor/ mapping specialist, planner/GIS coordinator? The second obstacle is the resistance to change by other affiliates. There might be concern over spreading the ISAC staff and resources too thin and diluting their focus.
Wayne asked about the possibility of adding a session to the schedule for the November ISAC conference. Bill said he wanted to visit with Jerri Noboa, the ISAC meeting administrator, about adding anything to the schedule before he could say one way or the other. The general discussion around the table was that November might be too soon to put together a separate track. Everyone agreed that we want to put together a quality session rather than just throwing something together. We left it that Bill will check with Jerri on scheduling and Wanye will check back with Bill.
Bill offered to let our group continue using the conference room to finish our group’s discussion. Everyone agreed that we want to continue with our efforts to establish an ISAC Technology Affiliate. Bob suggested that we could use the GMIS bylaws as a model for our bylaws. We also discussed getting copies of other affiliates bylaws, especially the Supervisors. Micah offered to type up the new bylaws. Scott offered to provide a list-server for the group for posting e-mail. Subjects for the August 14th meeting should include; bylaws, whether to incorporate or not, fees/dues, and updating e-mail lists.