Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

June 26, 2014

Public information board resolves Daily Iowegian’s case

CENTERVILLE — The Daily Iowegian’s complaint against the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors and Appanoose County Auditor Linda Demry has reached a preliminary resolution that will be submitted for approval to the Iowa Public Information Board July 10.

The board may vote to approve the recommended resolution or may move to impose a different resolution, but will most likely accept the order as presented.

The resolution agreed to by the Daily Iowegian, the board and the auditor concludes:

1. That the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors and County Auditor violated the media notice provisions of Iowa Code Section 21.4;

2. That the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors and County Auditor have obtained additional training in their obligations under Chapter 21 and 22 of the Iowa Code through participation in a webinar conducted by the Iowa State Association of Counties on June 17, 2014, and by attending a review of these statutes conducted by the newly appointed county attorney, Susan Daniels;

3. That the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors and County Auditor have resolved to avoid future violation of Chapters 21 and 22;

4. That the Complainant, in view of paragraphs one and three above, believes that the best interest of the community will be served if this complaint is resolved without penalty or damages.

The staff of the Daily Iowegian initially filed a complaint against the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors May 15 alleging that the board held three illegal meetings due to no notice being provided as required by Iowa Code Section 21.4. The meetings were held April 25, May 6 and May 13 in regards to filling the vacant county attorney position in Appanoose County after the previous county attorney, Richard Scott, passed away.

The complaint was accepted by the Iowa Public Information Board after review found that the board had the jurisdiction to resolve the complaint, and that the complaint appeared legally sufficient and could have merit.

An informal resolution was pursued according to Iowa Code section 23.9. The resolution to the complaint being presented to the board for acceptance on July 10 has been accepted by the Daily Iowegian, the Appanoose County Supervisors and County Auditor Linda Demry as acceptable to be presented for approval to the Iowa Public Information Board to conclude the case.

Violations of the open meetings laws can result in monetary fines and/or removal from office if the violations are determined to be deliberate and/or there are multiple violations within one term of office.

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