August 5, 2003


Members and Designees:
Sam Atkinson Kevin Lackey
Charles H. Chisholm Cille Litchfield
Cheryl Crawford David Litchliter
Cliff Davidson Will Spann
Paul Davis Diane E. Wall
Clarke Holmes Joel Yelverton
Others Present:
Chuck Carr Michael Jones
Joey Craft Craig Orgeron
Jana Jackson Jim Steil
Claude Johnson Susan Stewart

Kevin Lackey called the meeting of the Task Force on Local Government Information Systems to order at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5, 2003.

Staff of the Administrative Office of Courts will prepare and distribute the minutes of these meetings, as necessary.

This task force was formed by House Bill 992 that passed the Mississippi state legislature during the last legislative session, and approved by the Governor on April 20, 2003.

In PEER Report 430 - A Review of County Information Systems - seven counties were evaluated to test information inconsistencies and connectivity. The criteria that was set out included: (1) do the counties use the same basic fields; (2) how are they structured; and (3) is there a standard report format. PEER recommended creation of a task force to set out policies and standards, centralized by ITS. This task force is charged with submitting a report to the Department of Information Technology Services. There are seven elements of this report, including:

  1. Description of the current condition of information technology services available to the public in the offices of the chancery clerks, circuit clerks, tax assessors, and tax collectors;

  2. Recommendations on the hardware and software needs to create user-friendly, uniform systems for public access to court records, land records, tax records, and all other public documents maintained by chancery clerks, circuit clerks, tax assessors, and tax collectors in all counties of the state;

  3. Recommendations or comments regarding system compatibility and economy of those systems being developed under the Secretary of State's authority to develop and implement a statewide voter registration system, as required by Congress in Public Law 107-252;

  4. Recommendations or comments on any initiative to establish and implement a uniform Geographic Information System (GIS) in each county of the state;

  5. Recommendations on methods of funding software, hardware, and telecommunications acquisitions necessary for each county to comply with the task force recommendations;

  6. Recommendations for the use of world wide web-based systems for accessing the public information systems recommended in paragraph (b) of this section; and,

  7. Recommendations on the hardware and software needs necessary to comply with homeland security requirements of the federal government relating to state agencies, counties, and municipal government.

After much discussion, it was noted that the framework on the seven elements is doable, but solving those elements is not by the October 1 deadline imposed by the Legislature. David Litchliter and others noted that the work this committee is tasked to do seems to be much more than can be done than in the 7-week period allotted.

Diane Wall mentioned that local governments need to provide input with guidance from this task force, that the task force cannot do what is needed by itself. David Litchliter echoed her sentiment. Kevin Lackey reminded the task force that the need is great to establish policy and procedure, that it is the job of ITS to make sure those policies and procedures are followed.

Joel Yelverton wanted the task force to realize the difference among the counties. For example, the population differences between Hinds and Sharkey Counties would make it difficult for them to implement the same program in the same way.

Cheryl Crawford suggested that definitions of users of the data and what data is needed need to be addressed.

Charles Chisholm broached the fact that the legislature should be open to the task force identifying problems and a vision for addressing them.

Several members noted the need for a vision statement or conceptual view for this task force. This vision statement should include policy, standards, policy, and the law, but it should not be limited just to these items. Conflicting guidelines and laws need to be addressed as well. Each member of the task force should present a vision statement at the next meeting. At that time, all vision statements will be compiled into one.

Joel Yelverton was asked to check with the National Association of Counties for information they can provide. Paul Davis wanted to know if other states have been successful in developing a statewide information system, and what failures they have endured.

It was suggested that a PEER representative attend the next meeting. That meeting will be Wednesday, August 13, 2003 at 1:30 p.m. in the AOC Conference Room.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.