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Formal Complaints


Richard Mills/Danbury City Council - Acceptance Order


The Iowa Public Information Board

In re the Matter of:

Richard Mills, Complainant

And Concerning:

Danbury City Council,  Respondent


                     Case Number: 18FC:0013


                          Acceptance Order

COMES NOW Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and enters this Acceptance Order.

On March 15, 2018, Richard Mills filed this formal complaint against the Danbury City Council (Council) alleging a violation of Iowa Code chapter 21.  He alleged that a majority of Council members texted or called each other to arrange a meeting between the January and February regular Council meetings.  

Specifically, he stated that three members of the Council were trying to arrange a meeting at the city maintenance shed separate from the regular public Council meetings.  This was brought to the attention of the city clerk, who addressed the issue. The three members admitted the incident. One member subsequently resigned. The Mayor was advised of the activity and discussed the inappropriateness of this behavior with the two other council members.

Iowa Code section 21.2(2) defines a meeting to include a majority of the members of the governmental body meeting β€œin person or by electronic means.”  If a government body conducts an electronic meeting, the requirements of Iowa Code section 21.8 must be met. There is no evidence that public access was provided for the electronic communication, that requirements of Iowa Code section 21.4 were met, or that minutes were kept of the meeting.

Iowa Code section 23.8 requires that a complaint be within the IPIB’s jurisdiction, appear legally sufficient, and could have merit before the IPIB accepts a complaint.  This complaint meets those requirements.


IT IS SO ORDERED:  Formal complaint 18FC:0013 is accepted pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.8(1) and Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(2)(a).  Parties are directed to engage in reaching an informal resolution, with the assistance of IPIB staff, pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9.

Pursuant to Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(3), the IPIB may β€œdelegate acceptance or dismissal of a complaint to the executive director, subject to review by the board.”  The IPIB will review this Order on April 19, 2018. Pursuant to IPIB rule 497-2.1(4), the parties will be notified in writing of its decision.

By the IPIB Executive Director



Margaret E. Johnson, J.D.

Dated this ____ day of April, 2018.



This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of April, 2018, to:

Richard Mills

Joe Heidenreich, counsel for the Danbury City Council