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 21, 2020, Rich Knowles filed formal complaint 20FC:0097, alleging that the Crawford County Memorial Hospital Board (Board) violated Iowa Code chapter 21.
Mr. Knowles alleged that on May 26, 2020, the Board met in closed session pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5(1)(l) “to discuss marketing and pricing strategies and proprietary information where public disclosure of such information would harm the hospital’s competitive position.” He alleged that based upon “information provided by people with knowledge of the discussion and documents reviewed” the discussion went beyond the reason stated for the closed session.
He further alleged that the topics discussed during the closed session related to “financial/budget problems growing out of the Covid-19 health crisis, and possibly numerous related issues such as consideration of phasing out of CCMH’s Orthopedic Surgery practices, … as well as discussion of other recommendations from a BKD study CCMH recently had commissioned and its additional conclusions….”
Legal counsel for the Board responded to the complaint and noted that Mr. Knowles did not provide any reason for alleging that the closed session was improperly held. Copies of the agenda and minutes indicate that the closed session was properly conducted.
Iowa Code section 23.7(1) requires that a formal complaint be filed within 60 days of the alleged violation. Mr. Knowles indicated that he observed Board members leaving the Board meeting on May 26, 2020, and knew about the meeting as of that date. Therefore, the complaint is not timely filed and is not within the jurisdiction of the IPIB.
The Board is a governmental body as defined by Iowa Code section 21.2(1).
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:0097 is dismissed as beyond the jurisdiction of the IPIB 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 November 19, 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 November, 2020, to:
Bill Miller, legal counsel for the Crawford County Memorial Hospital Board