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 November 15, 2020, Kevin Kilgore filed a formal complaint against Ringgold County (County). He alleged that the County violated Iowa Code chapter 22 by failing to provide public records pursuant to his record request.
Mr. Kilgore provided a copy of a letter he sent to the Ringgold County Board of Supervisors dated October 29, 2020. The letter stated it was a public record request, but did not clearly state the records requested. (See Attachment A) The letter stated that the reports he described “are not obviously available using the subject selection headings for (various county departments) and do not appear under the Budget & Finance heading for Auditor/Elections.”
His letter continued: “The reports are requested either as documents or as a website address at which the reports can be viewed….”
A copy of the complaint was provided to the Ringgold County attorney on November 16, 2020. On November 23, 2020, the County Attorney replied. He stated that the Ringgold County Auditor misread the letter from Mr. Kilgore, thinking he was requesting that a link be provided on the County website to access those documents. As the County did not currently have such a link, the Auditor began researching the possibility of establishing such a link.
Once advised of the complaint, the County Auditor faxed the documents to Mr. Kilgore on November 20, 2020. A copy of the facsimile verification was provided. Mr. Kilgore normally provides correspondence to the IPIB and other agencies and government bodies by facsimile.
Subsequent to the filing of his complaint, Mr. Kilgore submitted additional correspondence by facsimile to the IPIB:
November 17, 2020: a three page document titled “(Addendum #1) (Cemeteries Listing)” concerning a past record request that is not a part of his complaint.
November 22, 2020: a 24 page document titled “(Addendum #2) (Financial Reports) containing 22 pages of records received by him “which in context appears to be the September end-of-month reports.”
November 27, 2020: a seven page document titled “(Update)” that is a response to a request from the IPIB to confirm receipt of the requested records. Mr. Kilgore notes that the response from the County Attorney states the records were “mailed” on November 20, 2020, when in fact they were faxed. He also raises other issues that are beyond the scope of Iowa Code chapter 22.
December 3, 2020: a six page document titled “Addendum #2A)(Financial Reports)” to “further address the matter of flawed County accounting based on ostensible month end reports received from a member of the Board of Supervisors and a cursory comparison of the report totals.”
December 6, 2020: a three page document titled “(Update #2)” concerning the failure of the County Attorney to affix “a signature nor the semblance of any of the allowable signature variants in the Rules of Electronic Procedure” in communicating with the IPIB, along with other concerns that are not within the scope of Iowa Code chapter 22.
December 8, 2020: a five page document title “(Closure)” that expresses concerns about the responses sent to the IPIB by the County Attorney.
Mr. Kilgore’s October 29, 2020, correspondence did not appear to request specific records, but rather requested the County establish a website link to certain records as required (in Mr. Kilgore’s determination) by Iowa Code section 349.18(3)(b). This matter is not addressed by Iowa Code chapters 21, 22, or 23.
Once advised that Mr. Kilgore did in fact want copies of these records, they were promptly faxed to him in a timely manner. The rest of his communications to the IPIB are not relevant to the fulfillment of his record request.
It is further recommended that Mr. Kilgore use a version of the Sample Records Request Letter available on the IPIB website when making future record requests to avoid future confusion.
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 fulfill those requirements.
IT IS SO ORDERED: Formal complaint 20FC:0119 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 January 21, 2021. 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.
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of January, 2021, to:
Clint Spurrier, Ringgold County Attorney