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20FC:0058

Date: 
09/17/2020
Subject: 
Toni Cooling/Oxford City Council - Informal Resolution Order
Opinion: 

The Iowa Public Information Board

In re the Matter of:

Toni Cooling, Complainant

and Concerning:

Oxford City Council, Respondent

 

          Case Number 20FC:0058 

 

                   Informal Resolution Order

 

This matter comes before the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) this 17th day of September, 2020, to consider the Acceptance of an Informal Resolution.

The IPIB accepted the complaint against the Oxford City Council on July 16, 2020.  Pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached a proposed Informal Resolution.

The Board has reviewed the informal resolution and approves it pursuant to Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.4(3).  The IPIB chair is directed to sign the Informal Resolution on behalf of the IPIB.

The parties have 60 days to complete the proposed terms from today’s date.  If the terms of the Informal Resolution are completed, the IPIB will dismiss the complaint.

 

_______________________________

IPIB Chair

 

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

 

This document was sent by electronic mail on the _________ day of ___________, 2020, to:

 

Toni Cooling

Crystal Raiber, legal counsel for the Oxford City Council

 

Before The Iowa Public Information Board

In re the Matter of:

Toni Cooling, Complainant

And Concerning:

Oxford City Council, Respondent

 

                      Case Number: 20FC:0058

                                  

                       Informal Resolution Report

              

 

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

 

On June 10, 2020, Toni Cooling filed formal complaint 20FC:0058, alleging that the Oxford City Council violated Iowa Code chapter 21.

 

The IPIB accepted the complaint on July 16, 2020.   Pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution as outlined by the attached report from Brett Toresdahl.

 

The terms of the informal resolution are to be completed within 60 days of acceptance by all parties.  Upon showing proof of compliance, the IPIB shall dismiss this complaint as successfully resolved.

 

It is recommended that the IPIB approve the proposed informal resolution, direct the IPIB chair to sign the informal resolution, and set the matter for compliance review in accordance with the terms of the informal resolution.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Margaret E. Johnson, J.D.

Executive Director

 

CERTIFICATE OF MAILING

    

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

 

Toni Cooling

Crystal Raiber, legal counsel for the Oxford City Council

 

 

 

 

 

Toni Cooling, Complainant

And

Oxford City Council, Respondent

Case Number: 20FC:0058


On June 10, 2020, Toni Cooling filed formal complaint 20FC:0058, alleging that the Oxford City Council (Council) violated Iowa Code chapter 21 at a meeting on May 15, 2020.  She stated that the Council held a closed session without complying with Iowa Code section 21.5.

A review of the minutes shows that the Council agenda listed “#3.  According to Iowa Code 2001:  Section 21.5 Council will be going into closed session.”  The unapproved minutes from the meeting indicate that a closed session was held, but does not provide the reason for the closed session.  The Council’s response to the complaint is that the closed session was to discuss a law enforcement issue.

Iowa Code section 21.4(1)(a) requires that the agenda for a meeting be “reasonably calculated to apprise the public” of the items to be discussed at the meeting.  Iowa Code section 21.5(2) requires that “the reason for holding the closed session by reference to a specific exemption under this section shall be announced publicly at the open session and entered into the minutes.”

The Council did not follow the requirements of Iowa Code chapter 21 when holding the May 15, 2020, closed session.

The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the formal complaint on July 16, 2020, as to the violation of Iowa Code section 21 and specifically 21.5, violation of the requirements for holding a closed session.  

Pursuant to Iowa Code 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution.


The parties agree to the following terms:

  1. The Council will acknowledge that the requirements for holding a closed session were not properly conducted.
  2. At an open meeting, the Council will amend the minutes of the May 15, 2020 meeting to state the provision of Iowa Code chapter 21.5(1) used to enter into closed session and to clarify the action taken in open session immediately following the closed session.
  3. The Council or City Clerk shall develop a checklist for holding a closed session.
  4. The Council shall conduct training for all Council members and city officials on Iowa Code chapters 21 and 22 (Sunshine Laws).  The Council may utilize the powerpoint training available on the IPIB website. The City shall work with the city attorney or retain the assistance of the Iowa League of Cities to provide the training to the Council and staff.
  5. The 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.

The City Council approved the informal resolution at a meeting on August 18, 2020.

Ms. Cooling approved the informal resolution on August 5, 2020.

The IPIB Deputy Director recommends that the IPIB approve the informal resolution and authorize the IPIB Chair to sign the informal resolution on behalf of the IPIB.

 

By the IPIB Deputy Director

_________________________________
Brett J. Toresdahl

 

Printed from the website on October 22, 2020 at 7:33am.