The Iowa Public Information Board
COMES NOW, Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and enters this Dismissal Order:
On March 24, 2020, Linn Snell filed formal complaint 20FC:0034, alleging that the City of Elberon (City) violated Iowa Code chapter 21 at a city council meeting on February 4, 2020.
Mr. Snell alleged that a council meeting was postponed from February 3, 2020, to February 4, 2020, when it was determined that the council chambers were in use by caucus goers on February 3, 2020. He alleged that the change of date was not posted until the morning of February 4, 2020.
He also alleged that the minutes from this meeting are inaccurate as they state the meeting was held on Monday, February 4, 2020, rather than Tuesday, February 4, 2020.
The city clerk responded on behalf of the City on March 25 and again on April 8, 2020. She conceded that there were mistakes on the minutes which have been corrected. There was another mistake on the minutes concerning the date of a work session which was also corrected. No response was provided concerning the late posting of the notice.
From the information provided, it appeared that on at least one posted agenda the year noted was “2019” instead of “2020.” The clerk also reported that she would be leaving her position with the City.
The City hired a new city clerk. She reported that she has over 15 years of experience as a board secretary and business manager for a school district. She has also received training on open meeting and public records laws through the League of Cities.
Iowa Code section 23.8 requires that a complaint be within the IPIB’s jurisdiction, appear legally sufficient, and have merit before the IPIB accepts a complaint. This complaint appears to meet those requirements. However, the clerk has left her position, making this a complaint that would be difficult to resolve informally as required by Iowa Code section 23.9.
The new city clerk has been trained and has experience with the provisions of Iowa Code chapters 21 and 22.
IT IS SO ORDERED: Formal complaint 20FC:0034 is dismissed as harmless error pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.8(2) and Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(2)(b).
Pursuant to Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(3), the IPIB may “delegate acceptance or dismissal of a complaint to the executive director, subject to review by the board.” The IPIB will review this Order on July 16, 2020. 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
1. Mr. Snell also expressed concerns about City decisions and actions concerning compliance with City ordinances and property taxes. These matters are beyond the jurisdiction of the IPIB.
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
This document was sent by electronic or U.S. mail on the ___ day of July, 2020, to:
Linn Snell (U.S. mail)
City of Elberon