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20FC:0059

Date: 
10/15/2020
Subject: 
Jamie Simpson/Essex City Council - Final Report & Order
Opinion: 

The Iowa Public Information Board

 

In re the Matter of:

Jaime Simpson, Complainant

and Concerning:

  City of Essex,  Respondent

 

          Case Number 20FC:0059

                     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 June 11, 2020, Jaime Simpson filed formal complaint 20FC:0059 alleging that the City of Essex (City) 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 August 20, 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 ____ day of October, 2020.

 

______________________________

IPIB Chair

 

CERTIFICATE OF MAILING

    

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

 

Jaime Simpson

City of Essex

Mahlon Sorensen, city attorney

 

Before The Iowa Public Information Board

In re the Matter of:

Jaime Simpson, Complainant

And Concerning:

City of Essex,  Respondent

 

                      Case Number: 20FC:0059

 

                               Final 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 11, 2020, Jaime Simpson filed formal complaint 20FC:0059 alleging that the City of Essex (City) 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 August 20, 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 October, 2020, to:

Jaime Simpson

Essex City Council

Mahlon Sorensen, city attorney

 
 

Jaime Simpson, Complainant
And
Essex City Council, Respondent

Case Number: 20FC:0059

On June 11, 2020, Jaime Simpson filed formal complaint 20FC:0059, alleging that the Essex City Council (Council) violated Iowa Code chapter 21 at a meeting on June 10, 2020.  She stated that the Council held an electronic meeting without providing public access to the meeting.

The Council held the June 10, 2020, meeting utilizing the online application “Zoom”.  The Council did not allow some members of the public access to the meeting until the agenda item each had expressed interest in came up on the agenda.  Ms. Simpson was not given access to the electronic meeting and was unable to hear deliberations or votes prior to being “invited” into the meeting. 

Iowa Code section 21.3 states that meetings shall be conducted in open session:

Meetings of governmental bodies shall be preceded by public notice as provided in section 21.4 and shall be held in open session unless closed sessions are expressly permitted by law. Except as provided in section 21.5, all actions and discussions at meetings of governmental bodies, whether formal or informal, shall be conducted and executed in open session.

Governor Kim Reynolds, by proclamation, has temporarily modified Chapter 21 to allow for electronic meetings pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.8 “provided that the governmental body provides a means for the public to participate by telephone or electronically as provided in this section.”

If a governmental body is using an online application for video and audio access to an open meeting, the governmental body must allow public access to the entire meeting.

The Council did not follow the requirements of Iowa Code chapter 21 when holding the June 10, 2020, meeting.

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 21.8, violation of the requirements for holding an electronic meeting.  

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 described actions occurred.
  2. The Council will acknowledge that the requirements for holding an electronic meeting on June 10, 2020, were not properly conducted by not allowing public access to the entire meeting.
  3. 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 and retain the assistance of the Iowa League of Cities to provide the training to the Council and staff.
  4. 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 City Council approved the informal resolution at a meeting on August 12, 2020.

Ms. Simpson approved the informal resolution on July 31, 2020.

The IPIB approved the informal resolution on August 20, 2020.

The terms of this informal resolution have been completed within 60 days of acceptance by all parties.  The Essex City Council acknowledged a violation of Iowa Code chapter 22.  It approved the informal resolution at its August 12, 2020, Council meeting and included the full text in its minutes.  On August 13, 2020, the Council members, Mayor, and City Clerk participated in training individually provided by the Iowa League of Cities. The training consisted of video “Open Meetings and Open Records Laws and Best Practices” along with reading topics on open meetings and public records. The Essex city officials provided signed and notarize affidavits attesting to their completion of the training.

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 December 04, 2020 at 3:07am.