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20FC:0058

Date: 
11/19/2020
Subject: 
Toni Cooling/Oxford City Council - Final Report & 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

 

                               Final Order

This matter comes before the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) this 19th day of November, 2020, for final review of the informal resolution agreed upon by the parties.

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

  

The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the complaint on July 16, 2020.  Pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution.  The IPIB approved the informal resolution on September 17, 2020.


The terms of the informal resolution have been completed.  

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

 

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

 

SO ORDERED this 19th day of November, 2020.

 

______________________________

IPIB Chair

 

CERTIFICATE OF MAILING

    

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

 

Toni Cooling

Crystal Raiber, city attorney

 

Before The Iowa Public Information Board

In re the Matter of:

Toni Cooling, Complainant

And Concerning:

Oxford City Council,  Respondent

 

                      Case Number: 20FC:0058

 

                               Final Report

 

COMES NOW Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and submits the Informal Resolution Final 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 Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) accepted the complaint on July 16, 2020.  Pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.9, the parties negotiated and reached an informal resolution.  The IPIB approved the informal resolution on September 17, 2020.

 

The terms of the informal resolution have been completed, as outlined by the attached report from Brett Toresdahl.  

 

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 November, 2020, to:

 

Toni Cooling

Crystal Raiber, city attorney


 

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 agreed 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 were completed within 60 days of acceptance by all parties.  

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 approved the informal resolution on September 17, 2020.

Summary of the terms:

The Oxford City Council acknowledged a violation of Iowa Code chapter 21.  It approved the informal resolution at its August 18, 2020, Council meeting and included the full text in its minutes.  The Council amended and clarified its May 15, 2020 meeting minutes at a meeting held on August 18, 2020. The Clerk has developed a closed session check list to aid in the preparation and procedure of meetings and agendas. A copy of this check list has been provided to the IPIB on November 9, 2020.  On October 5, 2020, the Council members, Mayor, and Clerk participated in training led by the Iowa League of Cities.

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 12:44pm.