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 July 4, 2020, Jerry Hamelton filed formal complaint 20FC:0065, alleging that the City of Fort Madison (City) violated Iowa Code chapter 22.
Jerry Hamelton stated that he filed a public records request on June 19, 2020, requesting two sets of public records. One request, for police department financial information, was fulfilled on July 1, 2020.
His second request was for “City employee communication (including emails and notes) between City Councilmen, the Mayor, the Police Chief (Acting Police Chief), and City Manager that mention Chief Sittings’ [sic] resignation, causes of, reasons for, and the placing of an acting Chief, and the hiring of a new Chief.”
On July 2, 2020, legal counsel for the City responded to this record request, advising Mr. Hamelton that Iowa Code section 22.7(11) defines certain personal information in personnel records as confidential and would not be released. Because Chief Sittig did not resign in lieu of termination and was not discharged or demoted, there was no information to be released pursuant to Iowa Code section 22.7(11)(a)(5).
Mr. Hamelton stated that he had heard that Chief Sittig was forced to resign; however, he alleged that this was “rumored” and provided no other substantiated basis for this allegation.
Iowa Code section 23.8 requires that a complaint be within the IPIB’s jurisdiction, appear legally sufficient, and could have merit before the IPIB accepts a complaint. This complaint does not meet those requirements as all responsive records have been released for the two record requests submitted on June 19, 2020.
IT IS SO ORDERED: Formal complaint 20FC:065 is dismissed as legally insufficient 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 August 20, 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, J.D
1.The City attorney provided Mr. Hamelton with the statement of the resignation and a copy of the 28E agreement with Lee County to provide interim chief services, along with hiring information for the new chief.
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of August, 2020, to:
Holly Corkery, counsel for the City of Fort Madison