Ed Jones / Osceola County Board of Supervisors / Chapter 21
Iowa Public Information Board
In re the Matter of:
Ed Jones, complainant
Osceola County Board of Supervisors
Case Numbers: 14FC:0079
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Complaint accepted in part by order of the Executive Director on September 23, 2014. Based upon further investigation and in coordination with the Osceola Board of Supervisors, it is recommended that this complaint be dismissed as resolved.
On September 19, 2014, Ed Jones filed a complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), alleging that the Osceola County Board of Supervisors (Supervisors) violated Iowa Code section 21.4 (public notice) at a Supervisors meeting on August 26, 2014. The agenda noted four agenda items at the initial call to order of the meeting at 8:45 a.m. The agenda further noted a specific agenda item at 9:00 a.m. and another specific agenda item at 9:30 a.m. The balance of the agenda (eight items) did not list a specific time. One of the eight items was consideration of a resolution setting the date for a public hearing on an urban renewal issue. Upon complainant’s arrival at the Supervisors’ meeting around 9:30 a.m., he was informed that the resolution had been considered and approved prior to 9 a.m.
The Osceola County Attorney and the Chair of the Board of Supervisors agreed that on that occasion, as well as possibly other times, the Supervisors would skip around on the agenda while waiting to call a specific item with a time designation. The Supervisors discontinued this practice as of the September 9, 2014, meeting, and agendas are now more specific and informative.
Complainant also alleged that the Supervisors met secretly to draft an “Urban Renewal and TIF project”. This portion of the complaint was dismissed as legally insufficient.
Following acceptance, Iowa Administrative 497-2.2(1) requires the IPIB “work with the executive director toward an informal, expeditious resolution. If the complaint is not resolved, the staff shall initiate an investigation to determine whether there is probable cause to believe a violation of Iowa Code chapter 21 or 22 has occurred.”
The Supervisors, with the assistance of the Osceola County Attorney, reviewed and revised the previous practice of listing agenda items without time indications and the practice of moving around the agenda randomly to consider items. While this action is not specifically prohibited by Iowa Code section 21.4, the Supervisors agreed that the spirit of the section, to “apprise the public” of the action before the Supervisors and to allow public observation of the meetings, was better served by considering matters in the order presented in the agenda.
It is therefore recommended that the accepted portion of the complaint be now dismissed as resolved.
Respectfully submitted this 8th day of October, 2014.
Margaret E. Johnson
Bob Hansen, Osceola County Attorney
Jayson VandeHoef, chair, Osceola County Board of Supervisors