Public Information

County board and architect battle over millions in cost overruns for jail

BY: - October 11, 2021

Floyd County and a Nebraska architectural company are suing each other in a dispute over millions of dollars in cost overruns tied to a new county jail and law enforcement center. In November 2017, the Nebraska architectural firm of Prochaska & Associates submitted to the county a series of cost projections for a proposed new […]

Reynolds’ lawyer apologizes for withholding email but remains silent on record request

BY: - September 20, 2021

After apologizing for the failure to publicly disclose an email pertaining to the fired head of the Iowa Veterans Home, the legal counsel for Gov. Kim Reynolds has not responded to a follow-up request for documents. Reynolds fired IVH Commandant Timon Oujiri without explanation in early May after state officials concluded he had collected $105,413 […]

Crawford County to change records policy after violation of state law

BY: - September 17, 2021

The Crawford County Board of Supervisors is the latest group of Iowa elected officials to run afoul of the state open records law by restricting how members of the public can ask for records. The board erroneously told a citizen she had to submit an information request in writing, according to the Iowa Public Information […]

State board: Reporter’s complaint against Iowa Workforce Development ‘has merit’

BY: - September 16, 2021

Iowa Capital Dispatch’s claim that Iowa Workforce Development violated the state’s open records law while failing to turn over its director’s text messages has “merit,” a state panel decided Thursday. The Iowa Public Information Board ruled that the news organization’s formal complaint against the state agency is “legally sufficient” and “has merit,” in addition to […]

COMMENTARY

More secrecy unwise in state universities’ hiring decisions

BY: - August 28, 2021

Iowa’s three state universities made a U-turn this summer, and they now are headed down the road toward secrecy with some hiring decisions. The about-face should trouble taxpayers of this state. It also should bother members of the Legislature, who have expressed concern in recent years that the universities are out of touch with the […]

After 105 days, Reynolds’ office discloses messages from fired agency head

BY: - August 24, 2021

After a delay of 105 days, Gov. Kim Reynolds has released some of the correspondence her office received from the head of the Iowa Veterans Home before he was fired earlier this year. Reynolds fired IVH Commandant Timon Oujiri without explanation in early May after it was alleged that he had collected $105,413 in improper, […]

Advocate: State filing in court case could weaken Iowa’s Open Records Law

BY: - August 20, 2021

A freedom-of-information advocate this week urged a state board to protect the Open Records Law after a controversial state court filing he fears will weaken the statute. The Iowa Public Information Board took no action on the topic at its meeting Thursday. Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, told the […]

State board rules IDPH violated records law, but dismisses complaint

BY: - August 19, 2021

The Iowa Public Information Board on Thursday ruled that there was “probable cause” to believe the state health department violated the state’s open records law, then dismissed the complaint anyway.  Clark Kauffman, deputy editor of Iowa Capital Dispatch, had filed a formal complaint after the Iowa Department of Public Health took nearly four months to […]

COMMENTARY

The Reynolds administration is the least transparent in 30 years

BY: - August 9, 2021

A journalist is arrested and put on trial for doing her job. The governor’s office and state agencies defy the law without consequence by ignoring or refusing requests for public records. A veteran state employee claims she was fired for complying with the law and providing a public record to a reporter. It sounds like […]

IWD: Agency director isn’t the ‘custodian’ of her own text messages

BY: - August 2, 2021

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend’s isn’t the custodian of her own work-related text messages and cannot be relied upon to retain and make those records public, an agency lawyer says. The agency’s position poses a threat to public access to government information, said Iowa Freedom of Information Council Executive Director Randy Evans. If IWD […]

Iowa sued over agency’s alleged failure to turn over Test Iowa emails

BY: - July 30, 2021

The Iowa Department of Public Health, already fighting formal complaints claiming it has repeatedly violated Iowa’s Open Records Law, is now being sued over access to records related to a $26 million no-bid contract. Suzette Rasmussen, a lawyer from Draper, Utah, is suing the Iowa Department of Public Health and its spokesperson, Sarah Ekstrand. The […]

State officials silent on agency-head departures and purged text messages

BY: - July 29, 2021

State officials are not answering questions about this year’s unexpected departure of the director of homeland security and they refused for weeks to address the departure of the head of the Iowa Veterans Home. On May 7, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office announced Iowa Veterans Home Commandant Timon Oujiri had been “relieved of his duties,” but […]