Open records complaint filed
By Kim Edward Adams

Andy Trumbauer has filed a complaint alleging that the city violated Iowa Law by failing to release a public record.

Trumbauer filed the complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board. The record Trumbauer sought was a recording made before, during and after a budget workshop meeting held at City Hall on the evening of Dec. 18, 2017. He requested the footage from 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting until one hour after adjournment.

The IPIB will consider the open records complaint against the city of Jesup at their next meeting Feb. 15.

Trumbauer filed a complaint with the IPIB alleging that the City of Jesup violated Iowa Code chapters 21 and 22 according to an Acceptance Order filed by IPIB Executive Director Margaret E. Johnson. This Acceptance Order recommendation will be considered by the IPIB board. In the order, Johnson notes that she determined that the complaint was “within the IPIB’s jurisdiction” appeared “legally sufficient”, and “could have merit.”

The requested video was not released, according to Johnson’s acceptance order, because “The city attorney stated in a letter dated Jan. 3, 2018, that the record was confidential pursuant to Iowa Code sections 22.7(65) and 22.15.”
Iowa Code chapter 22.7 Confidential Records section 65 makes confidential records which are: “Tentative, preliminary, draft, speculative, or research material, prior to its completion for the purpose for which it is intended and in a form prior to the form in which it is submitted for use or used in the actual formulation, recommendation, adoption, or execution of any official policy or action by a public official authorized to make such decisions for the governmental body or government body. This subsection shall not apply to public records that are actually submitted for use or are used in the formulation, recommendation, adoption, or execution of any official policy or action of a governmental body or government body by a public official authorized to adopt or execute official policy for the governmental body or government body.”

Iowa Code chapter 22.15 Personnel records - discipline - employee notification says: “A government body that takes disciplinary action against an employee that may result in information described in section 22.7, subsection 11, paragraph "a", subparagraph (5), being placed in the employee's personnel record, prior to taking such disciplinary action, shall notify the employee in writing that the information placed in the employee's personnel file as a result of the disciplinary action may become a public record.”
“Preliminary review of the facts would indicate that these sections do not apply to the content of this record,” Johnson states. Her order further stipulates: “parties are directed to engage in reaching an informal resolution, with the assistance of IPIB staff.”

Following a closed session at the Feb. 6 city council meeting, the council voted to “decline the IPIB request.” The council had entered closed session per Iowa Code Section 21.5(1)c, “to discuss matters presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent.”

Trumbauer has been the Jesup Fire Chief for a number of years. He remains Fire Chief as a holdover after Mayor Larry Thompson appointed someone else as Chief in January, but the City Council declined to approve the Mayor’s appointment. Trumbauer had been re-elected Fire Chief by a vote of the fire fighters in December.

If an informal resolution between Trumbauer and the city is not reached, then a formal investigation is the next step according to Johnson. This would probably start with Johnson requesting to see the video. She would then prepare a probable cause report, if warranted, to recommend to the IPIB board that a contested case hearing be held. Johnson noted that there would be several opportunities for a resolution between the parties short of the contested case hearing.
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