Barry Chalfant / City of Casey - Chapter 21
Iowa Public Information Board
In re the Matter of:
Barry Chalfant, complainant
City of Casey
Case Numbers: 14FC:0073
RE: Formal Complaint 14FC:0073, filed by Barry Chalfant and concerning the City of Casey, Iowa. The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the complaint on September 19, 2014 and assigned to staff for informal resolution pursuant to Iowa Code Section 23.9. Recommend adoption of proposed informal resolution.
Barry Chalfant, complainant, filed a complaint against the Casey, Iowa, City Council (Council) on September 9, 2014. Mr. Chalfant alleged that the Council violated Iowa Code chapter 21. According to the complaint, during the September 8, 2014, city council meeting, the Council entered into a closed session in violation of Iowa Code chapter 21.5, by failing to identify a proper reason for the closed session and discussing numerous extraneous issues during the closed session.
Upon review of the evidence provided, six violations were founded:
1. The agenda fails to properly “apprise the public” of the business of the meeting, a violation of Iowa Code subsection 21.4(1). The agenda has appropriate descriptive items, such as “Data Technologies Contract and Representative”, followed by insufficient items such as “Old Business” and “New Business”.
2. From the video of the open portions of the meeting, it was apparent that the Council was discussing and approving financial disbursements. There is no item on the agenda that corresponds to these actions, a violation of Iowa Code section 21.4.
3. At another point in the open meeting, the Council calls upon “John” to report on city activities. This is not listed on the agenda, again a violation of Iowa Code section 21.4.
4. The presiding officer calls for and leads a discussion on a potential building purchase to replace the City Hall that burned recently. This discussion item is not on the agenda, another violation of Iowa Code section 21.4
5. The presiding officer of the meeting requests an executive session, which appears to mean a closed session. No reasons are provided for the closed session, even when asked. A voice vote was conducted, without publicly announcing the vote of each council member. This is a violation of Iowa Code section 21.5.
6. The agenda item referencing a possible closed session states “per Iowa Code section 21.5” as the reason for the closed session. There is no reference to a specific exemption, a violation of Iowa Code sections 21.4 and 21.5.
The members of the Casey City Council, as well as the Mayor, signed a Remediation Plan. A copy is scanned and attached separately. Mr. Chalfant signed this mediation plan on October 24, 2014.
I recommend that the IPIB accept the proposed remedial plan as approved by the City and complainant.
Respectfully submitted this 27th day of October, 2014.
Margaret E. Johnson, JD
Iowa Public Information Board
Casey Mayor Forrest Schnobrich
Mike Maynes, city attorney