21FC:0001 & 21FC:0002
The Iowa Public Information Board
COMES NOW Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and enters this Order to Consolidate and Dismiss:
On January 4, 2021, Dan Aude filed formal complaint 21FC:0001, alleging that the Davenport Community School Board (Board) violated Iowa Code chapter 21 on January 4, 2021. He alleged that the Board met on that date and failed to provide a link to the video broadcast of the meeting.
On January 5, 2021, Lori Janke filed formal complaint 21FC:0002, also alleging that the Board failed to live-stream the January 4, 2021, meeting on YouTube as had been done in the past.
The Board responded to both complaints on January 7, 2021, stating that the meeting was available for in-person attendance and was not live-streamed. The Board does continue to live-stream regular Board meetings, but does not live-stream other meetings. The meeting in question was noticed as a Committee of the Whole with in-person attendance available.
Since both complaints concern the same alleged violation, it is appropriate to consolidate the complaints.
Iowa Code chapter 21 does not require that a governmental body provide electronic access to a meeting unless the meeting is an electronic meeting without in-person access. The complaints do not allege a violation of open meetings laws.
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. These complaints do not meet those requirements.
IT IS SO ORDERED: Formal complaints 21FC:0001 and 21FC:0002 are consolidated and dismissed as without merit 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 February 18, 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
1. The January 4, 2021, meeting was a Committee of the Whole Meeting. The properly posted agenda stated (in boldface): Please note, the Jim Hester Board Room is now open but the District will comply with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Governor’s recommendations as to gatherings and social distancing. To comply with the six foot social distancing directive, the board room will be arranged to allow for six feet between attendees. Streaming video is only available for Regular Board Meetings, so it is not available for Committee of the Whole Meetings.
2. Although it is not a requirement, live-streaming all meetings would provide additional access for citizens concerned about the health risk of attending in person.
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of February, 2021, to:
Wendy S. Meyer, legal counsel for the Davenport Community School Board