The new rules

Tama Co. HR introduces revised public comment protocol to supervisors

Tama County Administration Building, 104 W State St., Toledo, Iowa. SUN COURIER FILE PHOTO

TOLEDO – Last week’s Tama County Board of Supervisors meeting was all about rules and handbooks.

But before they got into all that, the supervisors heard the engineer’s report. Contract rock has finished being delivered, and trucks were out clearing roads after last week’s bout of snow. The K Avenue bridge is now open, with just fencing and seeding needing to be finished up.

The engineer has also been in talks with Salt Creek Wind LLC regarding the company using certain roads for an upcoming project. Two utility permits were approved as well.

Tama County Human Resources Manager Tammy Wise was also at the meeting to get a few things approved.

First, three policies that were previously in the employee handbook were approved to be taken out and to be made stand-alone policies. The policies in question were the drug-free workplace policy, the vehicle use policy, and the electronic device/social media use policy.

The second order of business Wise had with the supervisors was a new ordinance concerning the supervisor’s public meeting procedural rules. This ordinance was met with much resistance from the group of citizens that were present, and three public hearings were set for the ordinance — April 22 and 29, and May 6 at 9:45 a.m.

The rules are as listed:

1. The Pledge of Allegiance shall precede the start of each regular meeting.

2. All public attendees of the meetings shall remain seated and be silent unless they are addressing the Board when acknowledged and allowed by the Board Chair.

3. Any person desiring to address the board may do so when recognized by the board chair, but the board reserves the right to limit the speaker’s time and the order in which the speakers may address the board. Any member addressing the Board shall be limited to a period of three (3) minutes. The board chair may extend this time, or may request further information be presented to the board on such a date and in such a manner as it deems appropriate. The right to discuss the business before the board is reserved exclusively for the board members, the department heads, attorney, and person(s) on the agenda.

No person shall represent irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious statements or information; provided, however, that reports and documents prepared by county personnel shall be deemed relevant, material and the weight or competency thereof shall be determined by the board.

Persons Sharing Common Concerns. If any group of three or more people sharing a common viewpoint on any subject wishes to address the Board during the time for public comment, the group shall select a spokesperson, who shall present the views of the group to the board. The board chair may request to hear the views of additional speakers from the group. Additional support for the views of the group, in the form of petitions, letters, videotapes, etc., may be presented to the board for consideration at the conclusion of the spokesperson’s remarks.

4. No person shall be interrupted while addressing the board chair except to maintain order.

5. No person shall address any member of the audience while addressing the board.

6. Any person who the board chair determines has made personal, impertinent, slanderous, or unauthorized remarks during the meeting, or who has interfered with the orderly operation of the meeting while attending a board meeting, either in person or virtually, shall be removed from the room or the virtual platform. A deputy in attendance may be directed by the Board chair to remove such an individual from personal attendance.

7. In case the board chair should fail to act, any member of the board may obtain the floor and move to require enforcement of this rule. Upon affirmative vote of the majority of the board, the deputy shall be authorized to remove the person or persons from personal attendance, as if the board chair so directed. Such persons may be barred from further audience before the Board meeting and, in aggravated cases, an appropriate complaint shall be issued by the board chair and the person or persons prosecuted.

As part of a settlement related to a multi-county opioid lawsuit, Tama County has started receiving funds from the drug companies that were ordered to pay. It was approved by the supervisors at the meeting for the auditor to open up a special account for the opioid funds. $118,929.23 is the current amount in the fund, but more money will trickle in.

A committee has been set up to determine how to best utilize the funds, which have to be used for opioid related costs that the county has incurred — for example, housing prisoners and their medical costs.

The Iowa Department of Corrections Sixth District Director Joel McAnulty spoke at the beginning of the supervisors’ meeting to tell some current statistics about the district. McAnulty also answered questions and talked about keeping the county involved, even though the state has recently taken over the Department of Corrections.

Claims totaling $681,950.74 were approved.