IPIB Monthly Column
April 5, 2023
Margaret Johnson, Executive Director
Margaret Johnson’s Farewell Column
This is my last monthly column as Executive Director of the Iowa Public Information Board. It has been a rewarding experience --- to serve as legal counsel from July 2013 to December 2016, and then as Executive Director since 2016. The IPIB office will observe ten years of existence this year. The IPIB has changed significantly during this time, fielding 251 contacts in six months in 2013, compared to 754 cases and inquiries in 2022.
In my time at the IPIB, we grew from a small, independent state agency that was relatively unknown to a small, independent state agency with a website visited by 36,828 visitors in 2022. We have hosted international groups from over ten countries interested in government transparency and opened 1148 (and counting) formal complaints concerning government transparency in Iowa.
April 7, 2023, will be my last day at the IPIB and my first day of retirement. I know that Erika Eckley, the incoming Executive Director, will serve the IPIB and the citizens of Iowa with dedication and diligence. The IPIB is still small, with only three staff members, but will continue to be here to provide Iowans with an “efficient, informal, and cost-effective process for resolving disputes” involving open meetings and public records laws.
Did You Know that the Iowa Public Information Board staff is available to assist you with questions or problems involving open meetings and public records in Iowa? During the month of March 2023, 62 contacts were made with the Iowa Public Information Board office.
Who can contact the IPIB and how long does it take? Any person can contact the IPIB for assistance by telephone (515-725-1781), by email, or on the IPIB website. So far in 2023, 225 identifiable people contacted the IPIB. Of these, 147 were private citizens, 58 were government officials or employees, and 20 were members of the media. In 2023, 67% of the incoming contacts were resolved the first day, 14% were resolved in one to five days, and 19% were resolved in six or more days. Opinions, rulings, FAQs, reports, and training documents are available on the IPIB website – www.ipib.iowa.gov.