Notes from our discussion from the follow up meeting to review the preliminary results of the strategic planning session held October 22, 2014 with Jeff Schott

The following met on October 23 at the ISAC offices to continue discussion from the strategic planning session that was held on October 22, 2014, at the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) offices:

Alissa Julius –  IT Director, Dickinson County; Amy Sathoff – IT Director/Auditor’s Office, Emmet County; Shawn Olson – IT/GIS Director, Plymouth County; Micah Van Maanen – IT Director, Sioux County; Jon Bailey – IT Director, Marshall County; Jon Lubke – GIS/IT Director, Winneshiek County; Paul Culver – IT Director, Wapello County; Jeff Miller – GIS Coordinator, Dubuque County; Eric Guth – IT Director, Winnebago County; Jason Siebrecht – GIS Administrator, Linn County; Wayne Chizek – GIS Director, Marshall County; Micah Cutler – GIS Coordinator, Hardin/Franklin Counties; Michelle Fields – IT/GIS Manager, Greene County; Kelsi Jurik – GIS Technician, Polk County;  Jeff Rodda – Property Description Specialist, Polk County; Kim Veeder – IT Director/GIS, Black Hawk County; Gabe Johanns – IT Director, Franklin County, Robin Harlow – ISAC Staff, Matt Boeck – GIS Story County; and Cody Barrett – GIS Coordinator Warren County

The group received a first draft of the report from Jeff Schott.

Wayne started the meeting by asking the current Vice President Gabe Johanns to comment on his priorities.

Vice President Gabe Johanns reported that he would have the following items as priorities for his upcoming year of his presidency.

  • Documentation repository as part of an overhaul of the website
  • Continue with co-chairs for the Education Committee with one representative each for IT and GIS
  • Follow up with the completion of our non-profit status
  • Develop a budget for the organization

Past President James Nehring reported that he has a candidate for vice president.  The election will be held at the fall business meeting.

Wayne suggested that potentially the next vice president may select priorities to work on during their three years on the board as vice president, president, and past president.

The report suggested that we might want to add additional language to the ICIT vision statement.  Gabe suggested that the addition would be redundant and not necessary.  Jeff Rodda agreed.  Alissa Julius felt the vision statement was good as it is.   The statement was developed as part of the initial establishment of the organization in 2001.   It was agreed that the statement has stood up well and was as appropriate today as it was then.

In our review of the 2009 Strategic plan we removed the broadband initiative from our goals.  Wayne suggested that even though it wouldn’t be a goal we should keep it in mind as “Connect Every Acre” is one of Governor Branstad’s priorities.   We discussed this as well as the initiative for internet access for law enforcement.

One of the items was to reword the first item from the 2009 goals to make it less ICIT centric.  Wayne will check into that further.

One of the comments was about the costs associated with the Mid-year Conference.   Kim contacted the Auditor, Treasurer and Recorder about their membership fees and conference costs.

Auditor – $225 for the county membership and a $190 conference fee

Treasurer – $325 for the county membership and $150 for one attendee and $130 for two or more attendees for their conference.

Wayne suggested that we have a short presentation about costs associated with putting on a conference.   The presentation could include information about the committees that put the conference together.   An added benefit could be encouraging participation on a conference committee.  Michelle wondered that we may be overreacting to this comment.   Robin suggested that ICIT could put together a document explaining the values associated with the conference.

Districts 4 and 5 were scheduled to host the 2015 conference this year but because they have limited resources Districts 2 and 3 volunteered to take it on.   Wayne suggested that ICIT could use a different method for conference committee members.   His suggestion was having members from all of the districts with a two year commitment rotating so that there would be one year to be more of a learning year and the second year to be more in a leadership role.  Micah C. thought that would be too much for most people.   Michelle suggested that we should group the districts differently.   Instead match up districts 4 and 5 with districts 1 and 6.    That would mean a three year rotation.  If we go forward with this plan it would mean that District 1 and 5 would be responsible for the 2016 conference.

After finding out that the Auditor membership was the county not an individual membership it was suggested that ICIT could look at possibly having two levels of memberships.  Micah C. stated that smaller counties would want to have the individual membership at the lower cost.

Another aspect to the conference cost is vendor participation.  The last conference had a range of vendor support in fees from $500 to $1400.  There was some discussion about the mix of GIS and IT vendors.   Wayne suggested that the local GIS companies have saturated the market in Iowa.  Jason talked about the difference between GIS as a technology vs simply creating a parcel layer.  He expressed disappointment that ESRI has not been a participating vendor.   Last year ESRI did get approval but the vendor area was full by the time that happened.

Jason also expressed that even though his focus is GIS he is also interested in the IT topics since most provide the support of the GIS software.

Wayne suggested that communication and balance be discussed today.


As an example of issues with communication Paul Culver questioned the Paying IT Forward trip to Marshall County the point being wasn’t it usually an evaluation of smaller counties’ needs.   James reported that each assessment is different.  That in Marshall County it was more of an interview process with the department heads and elected officials.  He also talked about the Cerro Gordo assessment.   Jason asked about providing the assessment reports to the board and committee chairs.   Gabe had an issue with providing sensitive information and could provide a sample report.

Kim suggested that the committee chairs provide digital copies of their reports so that they could be included in the meeting minutes and be posted on the website.

The website is hosted at Marshall County and is being maintained in KOTTI.  Scott Williams has been maintaining the site.  Shawn is the new Online Services chairperson.  He reported that the online services committee will be presenting a transition plan for the website at the next board meeting.  The domain name is paid up for ten years.  There are multiple sites for the organization.  Shawn will be getting documentation about the application from Scott.

Micah C. said that we should have a link to Facebook on the ICIT website.  Our Survey Monkey account is linked to our Facebook account.   We also have some YouTube videos posted on the internet.

It was agreed that the website should be our primary focus for communication with the membership.

It was also discussed that we could create a communication committee that would be responsible for providing information to the membership.   ICIT could potentially provide an annual report by the president to the membership regarding services available with content provided by the various committees.

Action Items from the communication issue:

  • Meeting Minutes sent out following the meeting
  • Committee reports provided digitally for minutes and the website
  • Online services committee develop a plan to for upgrading the website
  • Agenda sent out to the members for all meeting


Balance issues on several levels including new and established members’ needs, outreach and member services, GIS/IT, and differences in counties’ resources.

Micah C. thought that improvement in communication would alleviate the issue with balancing IT and GIS interests.

ICIT should work on providing training for members concentrating on balancing GIS and IT emphasis.  It is hoped that members are comfortable sharing opinions.  James said that we should provide a mechanism for suggesting training as well as opportunities to present themselves.

ICIT should work on showing the tangible benefits that of being a member.  Jason would like to be able to show his IT Director the return on investment for IT staff to participating in ICIT.  What can ICIT provide to Linn County or any county?

Jason emphasized that it was technology rather than IT or GIS that we should be promoting.  We are really providing a tool for the department head or elected official to make informed decisions.  Both IT and GIS components are providing a service to the other offices.

Action items from the balance issue:

  • Set up training for members
  • Provide support for HIPAA issues
  • Manage technology with IT and GIS
  • Field trips to counties possibly coordinating them with CoStar events

The meeting concluded with each person in the group commenting on the experience.

Respectfully submitted,

Kim Veeder, Secretary