Freedom of Information Status Request to the City of Guthrie Center, IA and Guthrie County, IA – #001

14 February 2022

MEMORANDUM

From: Michael J. Merritt
PO BOX 294
Newton, IA 50208
‪‪(515) 446-8093‬‬
Active Duty Military Retired/Writer

To: Chief Deputy Jeremy Bennett
200 North 5th Street
Guthrie Center, Iowa 50115

Guthrie Center City Hall
400 State Street
Guthrie Center, Iowa 50115

Info: Iowa Public Information Board
Wallace Building, Third Floor
502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Subj: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION STATUS REQUEST TO THE CITY OF GUTHRIE CENTER, IA AND GUTHRIE COUNTY, IA – #001

Ref: 1. The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552
2. Iowa Open Records Act – Iowa Code Chapter 22
3. Howard v. Des Moines Register & Tribune Co. 283 N.W.2d 289 (1979)
4. City of Dubuque v. Telegraph Herald, Inc., 297 N.W.2d 523, 526 (Iowa 1980)
5. Iowa Civil Rights Comm’n v. City of Des Moines, 313 N.W.2d 491, 495 (Iowa 1981)
6. US WEST v. Consumer Advocate 498 N.W.2d 711 (1993)
7. Rathmann v. Board of Directors, 580 N.W.2d 773 (Iowa 1998)
8. Gabrilson v. Flynn, 554 N.W.2d 267, 271 (Iowa 1996)
9. Freedom of Information Request – Use of City of Guthrie Center, Iowa System Assets #001

1. Introduction

Reference (9) was sent to the City of Guthrie Center, IA, and Guthrie County, IA leadership in December 2021 via United States Postal Service First Class Mail. This request was addressed and directed to both the municipality and the county.

2. Background

The Iowa Supreme Court communicates in Gabrilson v. Flynn, 554 N.W.2d 267, 271 (Iowa 1996): “Iowa’s open records law, as codified in chapter 22 of the Code, ensures that “every person shall have the right to examine and copy public records and to publish or otherwise disseminate public records or the information contained therein.” Iowa Code § 22.2(1) (1995). We have found the purpose of this statute to be “to open the doors of government to public scrutiny to prevent government from secreting its decision-making activities from the public, on whose behalf it is its duty to act.” Iowa Civil Rights Comm’n v. City of Des Moines, 313 N.W.2d 491, 495 (Iowa 1981). Similarly, chapter 22 “establishe[s] a liberal policy of access from which departures are to be made only under discrete circumstances.” City of Dubuque v. Telegraph Herald, Inc., 297 N.W.2d 523, 526 (Iowa 1980). Accordingly, there is a presumption of openness and disclosure under this chapter. Id. at 527.”

The Iowa Supreme Court communicates in US West v. Consumer Advocate 498 N.W.2d 711 (1993): “The purpose of chapter 22 is to remedy unnecessary secrecy in conducting the public’s business. City of Dubuque v. Telegraph Herald, Inc., 297 N.W.2d 523, 527 (Iowa 1980).”

The Iowa Supreme Court communicates in Rathmann v. Board of Directors, 580 N.W.2d 773 (Iowa 1998): “The purpose of the statute is “to open the doors of government to public scrutiny to prevent government from secreting its decision-making activities from the public, on whose behalf it is its duty to act.” Iowa Civil Rights Comm’n v. City of Des Moines, 313 N.W.2d 491, 495 (Iowa 1981). There is a presumption of disclosure of records under the statute and exceptions to this rule are to be narrowly construed. Northeast Council, 513 N.W.2d at 759. The right of persons to view public records is to be interpreted liberally to provide broad public access to public records. Howard v. Des Moines Register & Tribune Co., 283 N.W.2d 289, 299 (Iowa 1979).”

3. Conclusion

The City of Guthrie Center, IA and Guthrie County, IA are directed to provide a response communicating verification of receipt of reference (9), status update, or evidence of its adherence to Iowa Code Chapter 22 regarding the information requested in references (9) by 28 FEB 2022.

Respectfully,

Michael J. Merritt
PO BOX 294
Newton, IA 50208
‪(515) 446-8093‬‬
https://phoenixharbor.com/category/foia/


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