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Published: Wednesday, 1/24/2001

Lucas County contemplates venture to market software

Lucas County commissioners are considering a proposal from a software firm to market programs designed for the local criminal justice system. The county would receive up to 25 percent of the fees.

Barbara Nash, vice president of CCI-Maxims, the programming firm, told commissioners at their meeting yesterday that the county could receive as much as $250,000 in the first year.

Ms. Nash said the software developed for the Northwest Ohio Regional Information System could be useful when applied to work the company will seek from other governmental agencies.

If successful, the programs developed for NORIS could be tailored to the needs of the other agencies.

Selling the software developed here and then altering it for specific needs in other locations could be profitable, Ms. Nash said.

Lance Keiffer, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said that he could find nothing in Ohio law that would govern such an arrangement.

He told commissioners that there are regulations for government sale of land, vehicles, and other property, but nothing to control the sale of “intellectual property.”

Nevertheless, he said, the software was developed for the county and is owned by the county.

Mr. Keiffer said the county would retain the original software for its use and that selling it for use in other jurisdictions could be “defended as a proper and beneficial use for the citizens.”

John Alexander, an assistant Lucas County administrator, told commissioners that an additional benefit that would be written in to any agreement would be the free use of any upgrades developed by CCI-Maximus.

If the company develops improvements in the programs while refining them for other customers, they would be added to the NORIS system at no cost.

The current software keeps track of police records, such as parking tickets, auto towing orders, and other categories.

Sandy Isenberg, president of the commissioners, said the suggestion by the company deserves serious consideration, but suggested that a payment in advance might be included in any agreement that might be reached.

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