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19FC:0108

Date: 
10/15/2020
Subject: 
Joshua Baker/City of Sheffield - Final Report & Order
Opinion: 

The Iowa Public Information Board

 

In re the Matter of:

Joshua Baker, Complainant

and Concerning:

  City of Sheffield,  Respondent

 

          Case Number 19FC:0108

                     Final Order

                     

 

This matter comes before the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) this 15th day of October, 2020, for final review of the informal resolution agreed upon by the parties.

 

On September 18, 2019, Joshua Baker filed formal complaint 19FC:0108 with the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), alleging that the City of Sheffield (City) violated Iowa Code chapter 22.

  

The IPIB accepted the complaint on December 19, 2019.  Pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution.  The IPIB approved the informal resolution on June 18, 2020.

 

The terms of the informal resolution have been completed.  Upon showing proof of compliance, the parties agreed that the IPIB shall dismiss this complaint as successfully resolved.

 

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that this matter is dismissed as successfully resolved through informal resolution.

 

SO ORDERED this ____ day of October, 2020.

 

______________________________

IPIB Chair

 

CERTIFICATE OF MAILING

    

This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of October, 2020, to:

 

Joshua Baker

City of Sheffield

 

Before The Iowa Public Information Board

In re the Matter of:

Joshua Baker, Complainant

And Concerning:

City of Sheffield,  Respondent

 

                      Case Number: 19FC:0108

 

                         Revised Final Report

 

COMES NOW Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and submits the revised Informal Resolution Report from the IPIB Deputy Director, Brett Toresdahl (Exhibit A). 

 

On September 18, 2019, 2019, Joshua Baker filed formal complaint 19FC:0148 alleging that the City of Sheffield (City) violated Iowa Code chapter 22.

  

The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the complaint on December 19, 2019, as to the alleged violation concerning non-responsiveness.  Pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution.  The IPIB approved the informal resolution on June 18, 2020.

 

The terms of the informal resolution have been completed, as outlined by the attached report from Brett Toresdahl.  The City was able to provide a copy of the language of the previous city policy by releasing a copy of the resolution that changed part of the language when the policy was amended.  This document contains the prior language as well as the modified language.

 

Upon showing proof of compliance, the IPIB agreed to dismiss this complaint as resolved.

 

It is recommended that the IPIB dismiss this complaint as completed.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Margaret E. Johnson, J.D.

Executive Director


CERTIFICATE OF MAILING

    

This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of October, 2020, to:

 

Joshua Baker

City of Sheffield

 
 

 

Joshua Baker, Complainant
And
City of Sheffield, Respondent

Case Number: 19FC:0108

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.

The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the formal complaint on December 19, 2019, only 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 agreed to the following terms:

1. The City Council will acknowledge that the described actions occurred.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 City Council approved the informal resolution at a meeting on June 22, 2020.

Mr. Baker approved the informal resolution on June 2, 2020.

The IPIB approved the informal resolution on June 18, 2020.

The terms of this informal resolution were completed within 60 days of acceptance by all parties with an extension of time due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

The Sheffield City Council acknowledged a violation of Iowa Code chapter 22.  It approved the informal resolution at its June 22, 2020, Council meeting and included the full text in its minutes.
  
Regarding term #2, the City Clerk provided the following response; “no such copy exists as the master copy was changed and not saved prior to the changes.” The link to the website with the current policy was provided to Mr. Baker by IPIB staff.

Mr. Baker provided to the city the specific range of dates for his record request on July 27, 2020.   The city provided all the public records (police logs) that they had for the time period requested by Mr. Baker to the IPIB on August 5, 2020 by email.

Mr. Baker came to the IPIB office on August 21, 2020 to review the public records provided by the city.  IPIB staff provided Mr. Baker with copies of the records.  Mr. Baker expressed frustration that the city had agreed to term #2 yet was not able to produce that record.

On August 10, 2020, the Council conducted training for all Council members on Iowa Code chapter 22, led by the city attorney. 

On September 17, 2020, the Iowa Public Information Board met to review compliance with the informal resolution. Questions were raised by the Board regarding the city’s inability to provide the public record outlined in term #2. IPIB staff was directed to request that the city make an additional effort to locate a copy of the public record which is responsive to the request.  This communication with the city attorney took place on September 22, 2020.

On September 24, 2020, the city provided a copy of the pubic record referenced in term #2.  The city attorney provided the record along with the following message:  “I spoke with the city clerk, Katy Flint, about the Board's concern on term #2. She was able to find a copy of the resolution that changed the relevant policy. The resolution also contained a copy of the policy itself. I have attached that here for your use and reference. The copy of the policy that is attached to the resolution shows both the old and new language of the policy. There is a phrase that is crossed out that shows what the old policy had been, and an italicized phrase adjacent to that which shows the new language that the city council adopted. Ms. Flint indicated that this is the only record of the old policy that she has been able to find, but it is an accurate copy of what the old policy was and how it was changed.”

On September 25, 2020, Mr. Baker was notified by staff of the communication with the city and he was provided with the public record produced by the city that complied with term #2.

The proof of compliance has been provided. Therefore, the IPIB should dismiss this complaint as successfully resolved.


By the IPIB Deputy Director 


_______________________
Brett J. Toresdahl

 

 

 

Printed from the website on May 18, 2021 at 12:53pm.