The Iowa Public Information Board
On September 18, 2019, Joshua Baker filed formal complaint 19FC:0108, alleging that the City of Sheffield violated Iowa Code chapter 22 by failing to respond to two record requests.
The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the complaint on December 19, 2019, as to the alleged violation concerning non-response to a records request. Pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution.
The terms of the informal resolution are to be completed within 60 days of acceptance by all parties.
THEREFORE, the IPIB accepts the proposed informal resolution and directs the Chair to sign on behalf of the IPIB. The IPIB will review this matter for compliance with the terms after 60 days.
SO ORDERED this 18th day of June, 2020.
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of June, 2020, to:
City of Sheffield
Joshua Baker/City of Sheffield
On September 18, 2019, Joshua Baker filed formal complaint 19FC:0108, alleging that the City of Sheffield (City) violated Iowa Code chapter 22 by failing to respond to two record requests.
On August 29, 2019, Mr. Baker hand-delivered a written public records request to the City for “any and all procedures or policies set forth by the city to the police department with emphasis in how official city motor vehicles can be used and where they can be stored.” He also asked for documents regarding how much the city spends to maintain a garage for the police vehicles.
Mr. Baker alleged that the request was returned to him and that he was told that the records were available online. He was not provided guidance on how to access the records.
That same day, he submitted another written request, in person, requesting “all logs of stops, calls, and other documents that are made during the course of duties performed by both officers of the department.” In response, he was provided a list of types of calls and the frequency.
When he informed the police chief that the records were missing important information, he was told that it would take 8 to 10 hours to gather the records.
The City Mayor responded to the complaint. He stated that the City had a letter for Mr. Baker asking for a specific date range for the log records so that a search could be made. The records are not maintained electronically.
Mr. Baker provided a summary of a phone call he alleged occurred with the police chief in which he stated that the police chief would redact all dates and times from the records, rendering them useless.
IPIB staff have attempted to coordinate a release of the responsive records. Records have still not been released. Acceptance of this complaint requires that parties work with IPIB staff to reach an informal resolution pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9.
The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the formal complaint on December 19, 2019, as to the violation of Iowa Code section 22 due to the non-response of the city to the public record requests.
Pursuant to Iowa Code 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution. The parties agree to the following terms:
- The City Council will acknowledge that the described actions occurred.
- The City Clerk shall be responsive to Mr. Baker’s public records request as requested; "...to inspect or obtain copies of public records for all information that pertains to any and all procedures or policies set forth by the city to the police department with emphasis in how official city motor vehicles can be used and where they can be stored. Along with this I would like to see how much the city spends on maintaining a garage for the police department to put their motor vehicles when not in use." Mr. Baker is asking for the version of policies and procedures on August 29, 2019, prior to them being revised. The policies and procedures are available online at the City website, which is publicly accessible. The Clerk will provide the IPIB with instructions as to accessing these items online which will then be shared with Mr. Baker. Alternatively, the City can provide Mr. Baker with a hard copy of these policies and procedures, at an expense of 10 cents per page for copying. Any fees for the copying of records would have to be pre-paid. There are not specific records reflective of the city’s expense for maintaining a garage for police department. These expenses are bundled along with other costs of maintaining city buildings.
- The City Clerk along with the assistance of the mayor shall be responsive to Mr. Baker’s public records request as requested, "...to inspect or obtain copies of public records for all logs of stops, calls, and other documents that are made/obtained during the course of duties performed by both officers of your department." Chief Gardner has indicated that the only records in his possession are daily call logs. This would be all the city would be required to produce as long as it complies with Iowa Code chapter 22.7(5): "...However, the date, time, specific location, and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding a crime or incident shall not be kept confidential under this section,.." The records will be sent to the Iowa Public Information Board office in Des Moines, Iowa either electronically or by mail. Mr. Baker will need to set an appointment to review the documents at the IPIB office, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa under the supervision of the IPIB staff. There would be no charge for assembling the documents and supervision but if hard copies of the records are requested, an expense of 10 cents per page would be charged.
- Mr. Baker will provide the specific dates or range of dates for which he seeks the police call logs. The dates request shall not be later than August 29, 2019, the date of his original request.
- The City Council shall conduct training for all City staff and Council members on Iowa Code chapter 22 (Sunshine Laws). The City Council may utilize the PowerPoint training available on the IPIB website and work with the city attorney to conduct the training.
- The City Council shall approve this resolution during an open meeting and include the full text in the minutes of said meeting. Said minutes shall be provided to the IPIB.
The terms of this informal resolution will be completed within 60 days of acceptance by all parties. Upon showing proof of compliance, the IPIB shall dismiss this complaint as successfully resolved.
THIS INFORMAL RESOLUTION HAS BEEN REVIEWED AND APPROVED BY THE FOLLOWING:
Joshua Baker Date
Mayor, City of Sheffield Date of Meeting
IPIB: Chair Date