Board of Supervisors Minutes
August 23, 2021
The Tama County Board of Supervisors met at 9:30 a.m. August 23, 2021. Present: 1st District Supervisor, Larry Vest; 2nd District Supervisor, Bill Faircloth and 3rd District Supervisor, Dan Anderson.
Motion by Faircloth, seconded by Anderson to approve the minutes of the August 16th regular meeting. All voted aye. Motion carried
The Board met with Lyle Brehm, Tama County Engineer, to get a road projects report. He presented a bridge replacement contract for Section 17 in Carlton Township that he would like the Board to approve. Motion by Anderson, seconded by Faircloth to award the bridge project for Section 17 in Carlton Township to PCI and direct Auditor, Laura Kopsa, to sign the contract documents on behalf of the Baord upon their return from the contractor. All voted aye. Motion carried.
Motion by Faircloth, seconded by Anderson to approve the following resolution regarding the Election Misconduct and Penalties Act:
WHEREAS, the Iowa Legislature has passed and Governor Kim Reynolds has signed, on March 8, 2021, an Act entitled the “Election Misconduct and Penalties Act”, which is now found in Iowa Code Chapter 39A, Sections 39A.1 through 39A.7, addressed to “election officials”, in Section 39A.1, which include the “county commissioner” of elections and those in the county auditor’s office, under Iowa Code Section 331.505, “who are responsible for carrying out functions or duties under chapters 39 through 53” relating to elections; and
WHEREAS, Iowa Code Section 39A.2 through 39A.5, define Election Misconduct in four degrees of criminal offense for acts and omissions of county auditors and the designated deputies and employees acting in the scope of their official duties for claimed election related misconduct; and
WHEREAS, Iowa Code Section 39A.1(2) declares that “(t)he general assembly also recognizes that instances may arise in which technical infractions of chapters 39 through 53 may occur which do not merit any level of criminal sanction” but Iowa Code Section 39A.6(3)(a) empowers the Iowa Secretary of State to issue a “technical infraction” notice to the county auditor, (which the Legislature has not defined and about which the Secretary of State has not promulgated implementing rules), for which “the state commissioner shall also impose a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars to be deposited in the general fund” with a removal from office if such amount is not challenged or paid after unsuccessful challenge; and
WHEREAS, the County Home Rule power is vested in the County Board of Supervisors, Iowa Code Section 331.301(2), under which the Board may “exercise any power and perform any function it deems appropriate to protect and preserve the rights, privileges, and property of the county and its residents” . . . “except as expressly limited by the Constitution of the State of Iowa, and if not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly”, Section 331.301(1), “subject only to limitations expressly imposed by a state law”, Section 331.301(3).”; and
WHEREAS, Iowa Code Section 670.8(1) requires that the Board of Supervisors “shall defend its officers and employees, whether elected or appointed and shall save harmless and indemnify the officers and employees against any tort claim or demand whether groundless or otherwise, arising out of an alleged act or omission occurring within the scope of their employment or duties” for “any breach of duty, whether statutory or other duty” under Section 670.1(4); and
WHEREAS, Iowa Code Section 331.324(4) requires that “the board [of supervisors] shall pay a loss for which the officer or employee is found liable beyond the amount of insurance . . . (i)f the liability of a county officer or employee in the performance of official duties is not fully indemnified by insurance” and empowers the Board “to compromise and settle any such claim”; and
WHEREAS, the county auditors and their deputies serving within the scope of their employment and duties in connection with the responsibilities they are assigned under the election laws of Iowa are threatened by the increasing animosity, partisanship, and vehemence and vitriol of persons involved in political party politics who can easily make or cause to be made criminal complaint under Sections 39A.2 through 39A.5, or cause action to be brought under Section 39A.6, whether criminal or civil, thus exposing such elected officers and their appointed deputies and employees to criminal proceedings, criminal penalties, attorneys expenses and costs, criminal or civil fines for administrative proceedings, attorneys fees and costs, and removal from office of the Auditor resulting in loss of income for two years all for undefined “technical infractions”,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED:
1. That the Tama County auditor and any deputy auditor or employee who performs election related responsibilities within the scope of criminal offenses and civil infractions, defined by the Election Misconduct and Penalties Act, Iowa Code Sections 39A.1 through 39A.7, shall be provided at county expense,
(a) In the cases of criminal charges made under Iowa Code Sections 39A.2 through 39A.4, and any charges brought under Iowa Code Chapter 721, as referred to in Section 39A.7, a defense, meaning a lawyer to represent the auditor, deputy auditor, and any employees of the auditor’s office so charged criminally, including any appeals to the Iowa Supreme Court.
(b) If a conviction results under any of the charges referred to in subparagraph (a), above, the person convicted shall not be indemnified for any fine so levied in the criminal judgment.
(c) Any person so charged as defined in subparagraph (a) shall immediately notify the Board of Supervisors of the pendency of such charges to invoke this Section.
2. That the Tama County auditor and any deputy auditor or employee who performs election related responsibilities within the scope of criminal offenses and civil infractions defined by the Election Misconduct and Penalties Act, Iowa Code Sections 39A.1 through 39A.7, shall be provided, at county expense,
(a) in the case of technical violations and infractions under Section 39A.6, defined as civil violations under Section 39A.1, an attorney to represent the auditor, deputy auditor and any employees of the auditor’s office cited for any such technical violation or infraction to file an appeal of such allegations or findings pursuant to Chapter 17A as specified by Section 39A.6(3)(b), in lieu of paying the civil fine of not to exceed ten thousand dollars specified by Section 39A.6(3)(a). Such representation shall continue for any of the successive appeals thereafter provided from the findings and conclusions of the Administrative Law Judge with appeals therefrom to the Secretary of State, the Iowa District Court and the Iowa Supreme Court.
(b) On July 8, 2021, the Heartland Risk Pool Board voted unanimously to modify exclusionary coverages of Heartland policies by providing the following coverages for only civil technical infractions under Iowa Code Section 39A.6:
“However, we will pay reasonable expenses incurred by the Insured including but not limited to attorney’s fees, investigator fees, expert fees, penalties and fines related to civil technical infractions under Iowa Code Section 39A.6 but not for the criminal fines imposed upon conviction under Iowa Code Sections 39A.2 through 29A.5 otherwise excluded under this section, up to a limit of $400,000 per claim.”
Roll Call Vote: Vest, aye. Faircloth, aye. Anderson, aye. Resolution passed and adopted this 23rd day of August, 2021. Larry Vest, Chairman, Tama County Board of Supervisors. Laura Kopsa, County Auditor.
Motion by Anderson, seconded by Faircloth to approve the property tax levy rates as prepared by the Auditor’s Office and certified by the State of Iowa for fiscal year 2022 as follows: (A copy of the levy rate table is available upon request at the Auditor’s office) All voted aye. Motion carried.
Motion by Anderson, seconded by Faircloth to approve the claims for payment as presented. All voted aye. Motion carried.
Chairman Vest adjourned the meeting at 9:50 a.m.