IPIB adopts new policy for complaints outside its jurisdiction

IPIB LogoBy Bob Eschliman


At its meeting last Thursday, the Iowa Public Information Board adopted a new policy regarding the referral of complaints that are outside its jurisdiction.

IPIB is a nine-member board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, of which no more than three members of the board may represent the media, or cities, counties or other local governments. Its role is to serve as an impartial arbiter of conflicts regarding Iowa Code 21 and 22, Iowa’s open meetings and public records laws – also called Iowa’s “Sunshine Laws.”

Complaints or concerns that do not pertain to chapters 21 and 22 are not subject to IPIB jurisdiction. And, after discussion, the board chose the following policy for dealing with those instances:

“Tell complainant we do not have jurisdiction and suggest who we think might and let complainant handle it.”

The new policy directive was moved by board member Peggy Weitl of Carroll and seconded by board member Tony Gaughan of West Des Moines. The board adopted the measure unanimously.

Following updates from board chairman Robert Andeweg of Urbandale and IPIB staff, executive director Charlie Smithson provided the board with recommendations from the Iowa Ombudsman’s Office regarding a decision from October of last year. The recommendations were unanimously adopted.

The board also reviewed and unanimously adopted the following advisory opinions:

The board also approved a number of proposed rule changes in its administrative rules and procedures. Those included amended advisory opinion and complaint review processes, and an amended conflict of interest provision.

The IPIB will next meet at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in the third-floor conference room at the Wallace Building in Des Moines.