The Iowa Public Information Board is expected to address six cases from southwest Iowa during its meeting later this week. The Daily NonPareil reports an agenda for the meeting, which will be held at 1-p.m. Thursday, in Des Moines, was released Monday afternoon. It shows recommended action for the following cases:
• A complaint filed by Jeff Lundquist against the Atlantic City Council and Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones alleged an unlawful meeting was held to discuss the resignation of the City Administrator Doug Harris. An investigation by the IPIB, however, found no such meeting occurred.
In a letter to Lundquist, IPIB Executive Director Keith Luchtel wrote “Our investigation revealed that conversations among the mayor and some council members about the resignation of the city administrator did occur outside of a council meeting, but never when a quorum of the city council was present.”
Without enough members present to legally hold a vote, public bodies are not subject to open meeting requirements, even if they discuss business. Luchtel recommended the IPIB dismiss the complaint.
• Three complaints against the Red Oak Community School District are expected to be resolved through negotiated remediation plans. The Red Oak school board has agreed to training and has acknowledged concerns about its handling of open meeting requirements in April and June.
Margaret Johnson, the deputy director of the IPIB, said in a report to the board that all three complainants – Jedd Sherman, Don Rogerson and Margaret Stoldorf – have agreed to the remediation plans approved by the school board. Johnson recommended the plans be accepted by the IPIB.
• A complaint filed by Pacific Junction City Council member Earl Smith that alleges the council violated state open meetings laws during a closed session to acquire a $50,000 loan in November 2013. Smith has since indicated to the IPIB and the Iowa State Auditor’s Office that the loan – actually for $40,000 – was approved at the beginning of the meeting and a closed session centered around a different $50,000 debt.
Executive Director Keith Luchtel said in a letter to Smith, released as part of the IPIB agenda, that the council has “ongoing actions” that appear to be violations against Iowa Code, including “vague and non-descriptive agenda, votes on matters not on the agenda and deliberation on matters not on the agenda.” Luchtel recommended the IPIB accept the complaint, which would begin a process of resolving the case informally or gathering evidence to determine if probable cause of a violation can be found.
• And a complaint against the Fremont County Attorney’s Office was withdrawn by Rick Aultman, who told the board he has instead filed a formal records request with Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope.