We have been looking at the recent
accusation that an Alderman was
impersonating another Alderman. The
event supposedly involved “confidential”
information discussed during a closed
Since we have never held office, don’t
have a law degree, and haven’t sat in
on any closed meetings, we decided to
find an expert.
We went to the Iowa Attorney General.
On the page listed are links to answers
to most questions involving meetings.
One we found interesting concerned buying
private real estate. If we read it right, it states
that as soon as the real estate transaction
is finished in closed session, all minutes
and tapes of the meeting must be disclosed
to the public.
By law, posting an agenda is required
even for a closed meeting.
public records are also covered. This
section states one rule of thumb always
applies: A public record is open for
examination by the public unless a specific
law requires or allows the government body
to keep it confidential.
Another site to check is the IFIIC
Open Meetings, Open Records Handbook.
On this site they mention 3 key points:
Iowa law assumes that meetings and records
are open. Most records are open to public
inspection, “even if such examination may
cause inconvenience, or embarrassment to
public officials or others.”
The laws are relatively short, general and
written for public understanding and use.
The laws provide a framework for the public
managing their business, but also provide a
way for an aggrieved citizen denied access
to meeting or record, some recourse.
Now, who decides what is confidential or
not? Are these closed meetings even legal?
We smell a circus.
Comments are always welcome.