Cass County Supervisors approve hiring of a GIS person


August 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, acting on a recommendation by the County Conference Board and Iowa Counties Information Technology group (ICIT), approved the hiring of a person to handle the County’s GIS (Geographic Information System). A committee comprised of Supervisor Gaylord Schelling, Assessor Brenda Nelson, Treasurer Tracey Marshall and Engineer Charles Marker, will be responsible for advertising the position and interviewing prospective candidates.

Assessor Brenda Nelson requested the Supervisors approve the new hire, based on a report by ICIT, which she says also recommended the County hire an IT (Information Technology) specialist. But their main priority right now, is for a GIS specialist. Nelson said she has the money in this year’s budget for that person’s salary and benefits. In subsequent years, other departments within the County that heavily utilize GIS, would chip in to cover the salary and benefits.

Nelson said she would hope that less than 50-percent of the funds necessary to pay for a GIS person’s salary will come out of her budget for the next fiscal year, so that the Conference Board won’t have a controlling interest in the GIS position. She said the money she has set aside for this year (about $50,000) would more than cover a GIS person’s salary.

Nelson, Marker and Marshall all agreed, having a GIS specialist in-house, instead of outsourcing the position, would be a time-saver for them, and a great benefit to the taxpayers. Charles Marker said “GIS is the way of the future.” Auditor Dale Sunderman agreed. He said its use “Is so broad and can do so many things, and makes the information needed readily, and speedily available.”

Nelson said some work may still need to be outsourced, but the majority of it can be done in house. Sunderman agreed, saying “No one person can do it….The system was built to incorporate the assistance of an outside vendor,” for some aspects and functions.” The committee tasked with hiring a GIS specialist hopes to have the position filled within a couple of months.