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LCA Opinion re BOS Meeting Minutes Requirements

LCA Opinion re BOS Meeting Minutes Requirements

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Published by LinnCountyAuditor
The Office of Linn County Attorney provided its opinion on the law relevant to the production of and newspaper publication of the minutes and proceedings of the Linn County Supervisors. While I congratulate Assistant Linn County Attorney Robert Hruska for providing a legal opinion, I do not believe Hruska balanced the interests of the public, the Office of Linn County Auditor, and the Board of Supervisors with the applicable law.

For example, Code of Iowa Chapter 331.504(1) states that Iowa's county auditors shall "Record the proceedings of the board". During the Board's discussion on 3/17/2014, Hruska said he equated "proceedings" to "minutes" and then outlined the requirements for minutes as described in the statutes.

According to the Ninth (the most recent) Edition of Black's Law Dictionary, "proceedings" is defined as "the business conducted by a court or other offcial body". I believe "proceedings" includes "minutes" and I do NOT believe "proceedings" and "minutes" equate to one another.

Publishing the proceedings of the Board meetings will inform the public who did not attend the meetings as to what occurs at Board meetings. Publishing the minutes as defined in this opinion would provide so little information to the public that they would likely be unable to determine what occurred at the Board meetings.

If you have a comment or opinion, please contact me at joel.miller@linncounty.org

Joel D. Miller
Linn County Auditor
The Office of Linn County Attorney provided its opinion on the law relevant to the production of and newspaper publication of the minutes and proceedings of the Linn County Supervisors. While I congratulate Assistant Linn County Attorney Robert Hruska for providing a legal opinion, I do not believe Hruska balanced the interests of the public, the Office of Linn County Auditor, and the Board of Supervisors with the applicable law.

For example, Code of Iowa Chapter 331.504(1) states that Iowa's county auditors shall "Record the proceedings of the board". During the Board's discussion on 3/17/2014, Hruska said he equated "proceedings" to "minutes" and then outlined the requirements for minutes as described in the statutes.

According to the Ninth (the most recent) Edition of Black's Law Dictionary, "proceedings" is defined as "the business conducted by a court or other offcial body". I believe "proceedings" includes "minutes" and I do NOT believe "proceedings" and "minutes" equate to one another.

Publishing the proceedings of the Board meetings will inform the public who did not attend the meetings as to what occurs at Board meetings. Publishing the minutes as defined in this opinion would provide so little information to the public that they would likely be unable to determine what occurred at the Board meetings.

If you have a comment or opinion, please contact me at joel.miller@linncounty.org

Joel D. Miller
Linn County Auditor

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Published by: LinnCountyAuditor on Mar 18, 2014
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03/31/2014

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www.linncounty.org
Civil Division: 319/892-6340 fax: 319/892-6346 Criminal Division: 319/892-6350 fax: 319/892-6389 Juvenile Division: 319/892-6330 fax: 319/892-6339
LINN COUNTY ATTORNEY
Civil Division
935
 2
nd
 Street SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-2100
 
COUNTY ATTORNEY
Jerry Vander Sanden
FIRST ASSISTANT
Nicholas G. Maybanks
 
Office Manager
Diane Albers
DIVISION ATTORNEYS Felony
Jason D. Besler Jason A. Burns Nicholas L. Scott
Misdemeanor
Heidi A. Carmer Brian D. Claney Laurie Craig Lisa M. Epp Matthew Kishinami Rena Schulte Jordan N. Schier Elena Wolford 
Civil
Jeffrey L. Clark Robert A. Hruska Gary P. Jarvis Christine Curley- Paralegal
Juvenile
Rebecca Belcher William C. Croghan Lance J. Heeren Kelly Kaufman
PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT Investigator
James Noonan
 Victim/Witness
Chris Adcock  Anastasia Wilson
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Board of Supervisors FROM: Robert Hruska DATE: March 18, 2014 RE: Minutes and Publication
 – 
 Applicable Law
∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞
 
Dear Board:
 You have requested an opinion of the Linn County Attorney’s Office
regarding the law relevant to the production of and newspaper publication of minutes and proceedings of the Linn County Board of Supervisors. It is the opinion of the Linn County Attorney that: 1. the board of supervisors must keep minutes of all board meetings; 2. the minutes must include those items set forth in section II, below; 3. transcripts or detailed descriptions of presentations and discussions which take place in board meetings are not
 “actions taken” 
 by the board and not required content of the meeting minutes;
 
 
www.linncounty.org
Civil Division: 319/892-6340 fax: 319/892-6346 Criminal Division: 319/892-6350 fax: 319/892-6389 Juvenile Division: 319/892-6330 fax: 319/892-6339
LINN COUNTY ATTORNEY
Civil Division
935
 2
nd
 Street SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-2100
 
4. the minutes must be recorded by the county auditor unless the board, with the consent of the auditor, appoints a permanent clerk; 5. the county auditor must furnish a copy of the proceedings to be published within one week of adjournment of the meeting; 6. altered or summary versions of minutes are not permitted for official publication; 7. the minutes must be published at the expense of the county; and 8. non-required content of board minutes need not be published at county expense.
 
I. The Requirement For Recording and Publication
Iowa Code Section 21.3 (Open Meetings Law) provides that
 “Each
governmental body shall keep minutes of all its meetings showing the date, time and place, the members present, and the action taken at each meeting. The minutes shall show the results of each vote taken and information sufficient to indicate the vote of each member present. The vote of each member present shall be made public at the open session. The minutes shall be public
records open to public inspection.”
Section 349.16 provides that,
 “There shall be published in each of said official newspapers at
the expense of the county during the ensuing year:
1. The proceedings of the board of supervisors…”.
 
 
www.linncounty.org
Civil Division: 319/892-6340 fax: 319/892-6346 Criminal Division: 319/892-6350 fax: 319/892-6389 Juvenile Division: 319/892-6330 fax: 319/892-6339
LINN COUNTY ATTORNEY
Civil Division
935
 2
nd
 Street SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-2100
 
In a similar manner, Section 349.18(1)
,
 Code of Iowa requires that,
 “All
proceedings of each regular, adjourned, or special meeting of a board of supervisors, including the schedule of bills allowed, shall be published immediately after the adjournment of the
meeting.” 
 Section 349
.
18(2) goes on to state that,
 “the publication of the sch
edule of the bills allowed shall include a list of all claims allowed, including salary claims for services performed, showing the name of the person or firm making the
claim, the reason for the claim, and the amount of the claim.” 
 Section 349.18(3) directs the county auditor to,
”furnish a copy of the proceedings to be published, within one week following the adjournment of the board.” 
 
Code of Iowa, Section 331.302(8), states,
 “A resolution becomes effective upon passage and an ordinance
or amendment becomes a law when a summary of the ordinance or the complete text of the ordinance is published unless a subsequent effective date is provided within the measure
.
Section 331.504 provides,
 
 “The
minutes
 of the board shall include a record of all actions taken and the complete text of the motions, resolutions,
amendments and ordinances adopted by the board.”
Clearly, the law requires that minutes of meetings of a county board of Supervisors be compiled and published in the official newspapers.
 

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