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Derek Tidball/Des Moines Water Works - Dismissal Order

The Iowa Public Information Board

In re the Matter of:

Derek Tidball, Complainant

And Concerning:

Des Moines Water Works, Respondent


                  Case Number: 20FC:0118


                         Dismissal Order


COMES NOW the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) and enters this Dismissal Order:

On November 13, 2020, Derek Tidball filed formal complaint 20FC:0118, alleging that the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) violated Iowa Code chapter 22.

On an unknown date, Mr. Tidball filed a request for “records of properties receiving their [DMWW’s] service that had their water service terminated in the last 6 months, for two consecutive months or more.” 

Mr. Tidball alleged that the DMWW responded to his request on or about November 12, 2020, denying release of the records.  He alleged that DMWW told him that no such records exist and that customer records are protected from release by Iowa Code section 388.9A.

Legal counsel for DMWW responded to the complaint, indicating that DMWW maintains their records by customer name, not by property address.  There is no data accessible to create a record by property address.  In addition, private customer information is protected by Iowa Code section 388.9A.  

Iowa Code section 388.9A states:

388.9A Customer records. Notwithstanding section 22.2, subsection 1, public records of a city utility or combined utility system, or a city enterprise or combined city enterprise as defined in section 384.80, which shall not be examined or copied as of right, include private customer information. Except as required pursuant to chapter 476, “private customer information” includes information identifying a specific customer and any record of a customer account, including internet-based customer account information.

Even if the public records requested by Mr. Tidball existed, they would not necessarily be available to the public if it were established that the exemption provided by Iowa Code section 388.9A was applicable.  Since the records sought do not exist, that issue is not addressed herein.  The DMWW has not violated Iowa Code chapter 22.


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:0118 is dismissed as legally insufficient pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.8(2) and Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(2)(b). 


So Ordered this 17th day of December, 2020.



IPIB Chair



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


Derek Tidball

John Lande, legal counsel for the Des Moines Water Works


Printed from the website on May 18, 2021 at 11:36am.