The Iowa Public Information Board has been asked to review action conducted during a closed session of the City Council in Pacific Junction. The Daily NonPareil reports Councilman Earl Smith filed a complaint with the board alleging that the Pacific Junction City Council had violated the state’s opening meetings law by voting during closed session to acquire a $50,000 loan in November 2013. However, last month, Smith said the action never happened, according to a letter sent to the board.
Margaret Johnson, the deputy director of the IPIB, said Thursday that Smith essential withdrew some of the complaints he made against the council. Smith also sent his complaint to the Iowa State Auditor’s Office. In his letter, Smith said a loan for $40,000 – not $50,000 – was voted on and approved by the City Council at the beginning of the meeting. He continued that a closed session was held to discuss an “obligation debt” for federal, Social Security and Medicare back taxes in the amount of $50,000.
Smith said in his letter that Pacific Junction Mayor Andy Young told council members that the city clerk had already arranged payments with the Internal Revenue Service to pay back the debt, and “there is nothing to worry about.” Smith said there was confusion among the council’s decision because, according to a recording of the meeting, it was announced the city clerk made arrangements before knowing the amount owed to the IRS and before the plan could be approved by the City Council.
Johnson said it is likely the IPIB will hear Smith’s complaint during its October meeting – even though it falls outside the 60-day filing deadline called for in the Iowa code. Johnson said, in the future, it would benefit the City Council to make more concise agendas and take better notes during meetings.