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Supervisors to amend public information policy

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DBR Crawford County Courthouse

IPIB says complaint about Crawford County policy has merit

The Crawford County Board of Supervisors had on their agenda for this morning (Tuesday) an item to discuss and take action on an amendment to the county policy for information requests.

The action is a response to a decision by the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) last Thursday to accept a complaint from Dow City resident Beth Vogt about the county’s public information policy.

Vogt’s complaint, filed with IPIB on August 16, stated that a Crawford County policy enacted on July 1, 2020, violated the state’s open records laws.

The board of supervisors voted 3-2 on June 23, 2020, to approve the policy.

Supervisors Cecil Blum, Dave Muhlbauer and Kyle Schultz voted aye. Supervisors Jeri Vogt and Eric Skoog voted nay.

Beth Vogt told the Bulletin and Review that the issue came up when she requested minutes from E911 Service Board meetings and was given conflicting information about Crawford County’s information request policy from Duane Zenk, E911 local progam manager, and Schultz, the E911 board chairman.

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In the filing, Beth Vogt said that Schultz had provided her with a copy of the policy.

“Requirement #2 on this policy says all requests must be in writing. Iowa Code states requests need not be in writing,” Vogt wrote in the IPIB complaint.

She requested that IPIB require that the Crawford County Board of Supervisors rewrite their open records policy to make it legal, and asked IPIB to assist in doing so.

Vogt withdrew her complaint on Thursday when she was informed by IPIB that Crawford County would amend the policy.

Assistant Crawford County Attorney Martha Sibbel told the Bulletin and Review that the county policy needed to be changed.

Sibbel prepared a draft amendment for the supervisors to consider at today’s meeting.

“The amendment includes telephone as a method of requesting information, in addition to email or in person,” Sibbel said.

“The (Iowa) Code section itself provided for requesting information by electronic means, telephone or in-person.”

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