The Iowa Public Information Board
THIS MATTER comes before the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) this 18th day of June, 2020, to review compliance with the terms of an informal resolution.
On December 12, 2019, Larry Robinson filed formal complaint 19FC:0143 alleging that the City of Marathon City Council (Council) violated Iowa Code chapter 21. On December 14, 2019, Bill Olney filed formal complaint 19FC:0146 alleging the same violation.
The IPIB consolidated and accepted both complaints on January 16, 2020, as to the alleged violation concerning insufficient notice of the meeting. Pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution which was approved by the IPIB on April 16, 2020.
The terms of the informal resolution have been successfully completed. Under the terms of the informal resolution, the IPIB agreed to dismiss this complaint as successfully resolved.
THEREFORE, this matter is dismissed as successfully resolved by informal resolution.
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
A copy of this document was sent via email on the ________ day of June, 2020, to:
City of Marathon, Neven Conrad, city attorney
Larry Robinson, Complainant
Bill Olney, Complainant
City of Marathon, Respondent
Case Number: 19FC:0143 & 19FC:0146
On December 12, 2019, Larry Robinson filed formal complaint 19FC:0143, alleging that the Marathon City Council (Council) violated Iowa Code chapter 21 by conducting a Council meeting on December 10, 2019, without providing 24 hour notice. He added that the city clerk notified the Mayor of the lack of proper notice prior to the meeting. Mr. Robinson is a city council member and abstained from participating in the meeting because of the improper notice.
On December 14, 2019, Bill Olney filed formal complaint 19FC:0146, alleging that the agenda for the December 10, 2019, meeting was not posted until noon on December 10, 2019. Because the two complaints allege the same Chapter 21 violation, it is appropriate to consolidate the complaints.
The city’s legal counsel filed a response on January 3, 2020. He stated that the clerk is employed by two cities and was unable to post the notice 24 hours in advance as she was working at the other city. He also noted that the Mayor was under the impression that the clerk had just forgotten to post notice at the Post Office. He added that once the Mayor understood that the notice was improper, he contacted the League of Cities, who advised him to reset the meeting.
Legal counsel also noted that the December 10, 2019, meeting was held at the normal date, time, and location and that the general public was not excluded from the meeting.
In his reply, Mr. Robinson stated that everyone was aware that the notice was defective prior to the start of the meeting. The Council had to call in another council member when Mr. Robinson abstained in order to reach quorum. He also noted that the notice and agenda could have been posted earlier than 6 p.m. on Monday to ensure compliance with Iowa law.
Iowa Code section 21.4(2)(a) requires that a governmental body post the notice and agenda at least 24 hours prior to the beginning of a meeting. There is no dispute that the notice was posted less than 24 hours prior to the start of the meeting.
The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the formal complaint on January 16, 2020, as to the violation of Iowa Code section 21.4(2)(a) due to less than 24 hour notification for the meeting held on December 10, 2019.
Pursuant to Iowa Code 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution. The parties agreed to the following terms:
The City Council will acknowledge that the described actions occurred.
The City Council will acknowledge that the proper notice for the December 10, 2019, meeting was not provided in accordance with Iowa Code chapter 21.4(1)(a); such notice was not provided 24 hours prior to the meeting.
The City Council shall conduct training for all Council members on Iowa Code chapters 21 and 22 (Sunshine Laws). The City Council may utilize the PowerPoint training available on the IPIB website and work with the city attorney or the Iowa League of Cities 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 City approved the informal resolution at a meeting on March 3, 2020.
Mr. Robinson approved the informal resolution on March 3, 2020. Mr. Olney approved the informal resolution on March 25, 2020. The IPIB approved the informal resolution on April 16, 2020.
The terms of this informal resolution have been completed within 60 days of acceptance by all parties. The Marathon City Council acknowledged it held a meeting without proper notice in violation of Iowa Code chapter 21. It approved the informal resolution at its March 3, 2020, Council meeting and included the full text in its minutes. On June 9, 2020, the Council conducted training for all Board members via Zoom and led by City Attorney Neven Conrad.
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