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 September 9, 2020, Jean Lewis filed formal complaint 20FC:0093, alleging that the Jasper County Board of Health (Board) violated Iowa Code chapter 21.
Ms. Lewis alleged that on September 9, 2020, the Board had not yet posted a copy of the agenda for the Board meeting scheduled for September 10, 2020, within 24 hours prior to the meeting.
On September 11, 2020, the Jasper County Attorney filed a response to the complaint. He noted that the public notice and agenda were properly posted in the county health department office. This office is the “principal office of the body holding the meeting” as required by Iowa Code section 21.4(1)(a).
The county attorney added that the notice and agenda were also posted on the Jasper County website on September 4, 2020, and an amended agenda was posted on September 8, 2020, at 3:45 p.m. Both postings were more than 24 hours prior to the meeting. He provided a photo of the posting on the office bulletin board.
Ms. Lewis replied to this response and stated that publishing the notice at the county health department is not sufficient, “At the very least, these agendas could be posted at the Jasper County Courthouse, the Newton Public Library, etc.” She also questioned whether the photo sent by the county attorney was sufficient proof without a time stamp.
Iowa Code sections 21.4(1)(a) and 21.4(2)(a) state:
1. a. Except as provided in subsection 3, a governmental body shall give notice of the time, date, and place of each meeting including a reconvened meeting of the governmental body, and the tentative agenda of the meeting, in a manner reasonably calculated to apprise the public of that information. Reasonable notice shall include advising the news media who have filed a request for notice with the governmental body and posting the notice on a bulletin board or other prominent place which is easily accessible to the public and clearly designated for that purpose at the principal office of the body holding the meeting, or if no such office exists, at the building in which the meeting is to be held.
2. a. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph “c”, notice conforming with all of the requirements of subsection 1 shall be given at least twenty-four hours prior to the commencement of any meeting of a governmental body unless for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical, in which case as much notice as is reasonably possible shall be given.
The posting for the September 10, 2020, meeting met the requirements of Iowa Code chapter 21. There is no evidence that Chapter 21 was violated.
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 does not meet those requirements.
IT IS SO ORDERED: Formal complaint 20FC:0093 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 October 15, 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
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of October, 2020, to:
Jasper County Board of Health