Freedom of Information Status Request to the City of Newton, Iowa – #001

14 February 2022

MEMORANDUM

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

To: Michael L. Hansen
101 W 4TH ST S
PO Box 399
Newton, IA 50208
(641)-521-6755

City Administration
Administrative Services
101 W 4TH ST S
PO Box 399
Newton, IA 50208
641-791-0807

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

Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-5164

Office of Auditor of State
Room 111
State Capitol Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Office of Ombudsman
Ola Babcock Miller Building
1112 East Grand
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Subj: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION STATUS REQUEST TO THE CITY OF NEWTON, IOWA – #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 Newton, Iowa Information System Assets #001, 27 NOV 2021
10. Freedom of Information Request – City of Newton – State of Iowa v Lambertus, Zachery Milo Case: 05501 SMAC015739 (JASPER) – #002, 03 DEC 2021
11. City of Newton Iowa Open Records Response, 16 DEC 2021
12. Freedom of Information Request – Jasper County Iowa, 20 DEC 2021

1. Introduction

On 16 DEC 2021, The City of Newton released correspondence responding to references (9) and (10) while communicating a possible delay processing the request due to the holidays. As of 14 FEB 2022, the originator of this correspondence has not received any subsequent updates or evidence that the City of Newton has satisfactorily responded or addressed the requests made in references (9) and (10) in accordance with Iowa Code Chapter 22.

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 Newton is directed to provide a response communicating a status update or evidence of its adherence to Iowa Code Chapter 22 regarding the information requested in references (9) and (10) by 28 FEB 2022.

Respectfully,

Michael J. Merritt
PO BOX 294
Newton, IA 50208
641-840-9916
https://phoenixharbor.com/category/foia/


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