CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County Commissioners will ask the county assessor to apologize for negative comments allegedly made about the county's geographic information system vendor.
Commissioners reviewed a letter from John Teale, president of Midland GIS Solutions in Sunrise Beach, during their regular meeting Thursday.
"We just have a problem and I don't know how to address it," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said.
"I have delayed my response to your letter of November 3, 2006, regarding (Assessor) Bill Thompson's decision to refuse a letter of apology as previously promised," Teale wrote. "Our attorney continues to advise us that any law suit regarding this matter must name both Mississippi County and Bill Thompson personally. Out of respect for the Commission and County Clerk Jr. DeLay, I have no desire or interest in naming Mississippi County in a law suit unless absolutely necessary. False and slanderous comments by Thompson would obviously force that position to change."
Blumenberg said his advice to Thompson would be, "don't go to another meeting and bring their name up again."
Blumenberg said he doesn't think the county will be liable for comments made by Thompson and that overall the county has "a good working relationship" with Midland GIS.
The letter also advises of Midland's proposed maintenance plan for the GIS.
"The County's financial interest in the GIS program could be economically salvaged through our suggested maintenance plan," Teale wrote. "This temporary alternative solution is certainly better than litigation. This would also send a strong message to your constituents that progress in your investment in GIS continues regardless of the road blocks of a current office holder."
DeLay said the plan is for the county to take possession and work with Midland GIS to keep the system updated.
Geographic information systems are able to display a wide variety of data overlays such as parcel information in graphic formats over aerial photography maps on computer screens and printed maps.
"It's a super company. They do a super program," Commissioner Martin Lucas said. "It's just unlimited what you can do with it."
Without cooperation from the Assessor's Office to keep parcel information updated, however, "ours will never be completely up-to-date," DeLay said.
"The (assessor's) office doesn't know how to use it because they didn't take the training we paid for," Lucas said. "You practice it, you learn it."
He said Midland GIS has offered to walk through any of the GIS operations with county employees and officials.
"We need to get this thing settled," Blumenberg said.