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Des Moines, Iowa

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Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials N
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public Records N
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Local Taxes N
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Transparency grading process

Des Moines is the capital city in U.S. state of Iowa. It is the capital and the most populous city in the US state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small portion of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857. It is named after the Des Moines River, which may have been adapted from the French Rivière des Moines, literally meaning "River of the Monks." The five-county metropolitan area is ranked 88th in terms of population in the United States with 569,633 residents according to the 2010 count by the United States Census Bureau. The city proper population was 203,433 at the 2010 census.

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Iowa city websites

The good

  • Budget documents are available.[1]
  • The Mayor and city council officials contact information are posted online.[2]
  • Agendas and minutes are available for City Council Meetings.[3]
  • Building permit forms and zoning information are available on the website.[4]
  • Financial audit documents are available.[5]
  • Information on bids and proposals are available[6]

The bad

  • Names and contact details are not provided for administrative officials.
  • Information is not available for public records requests.
  • Taxpayer funded lobbying information is not provided.
  • Information on local taxes is not provided.


Beginning in 2009, the City began crafting two year budgets, that balanced expenditures and revenues for a two year period rather than the traditional one year period. Total expenditures for the FY 2011-2012 adopted budget were $608,731,402, with over $130 million dedicated to capital improvements.[7]

Public employees

Elected officials

The City elects a seven member City Council, which includes a Mayor. Two members and the Mayor are elected at-large, while four members are elected from wards within the City. Members are:[8]

Name Title District
T. M. Franklin Cownie Mayor At-large
Skip Moore Council member At-large
Christopher Coleman Council member At-large
Halley Griess Council member 1
Robert L. Mahaffey Council member 2
Christine Hensley Council member 3
Brian Meyer Council member 4

Administrative officials

A City organizational chart can be found here. The city's chief administrator is the City Manager, who is appointed by the Mayor and City Council. Responsibilities include preparing the budget, hiring and firing personnel, and directing day to day operations. The current City Manager is Richard Clark, who was appointed in February, 2006. A full list of City Manager's Office employees can be found here.


The City provides a job classification chart that contains minimum and maximum monthly salaries divided by position. The highest three maximum monthly salaries listed are for the positions of City Clerk, City Manager, and City Attorney, at $16,666.67.[9] The rest of the listings can be found here.


Employee benefit information is provided based on bargaining group. Non-emergency employees participate in the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System. AFSCME employees are eligible to participate in a 457 deferred compensation plan with a 2% city match. Fire and police employees participate in the Municipal Police and Fire Pension System of Iowa.[10]



The City spent $60,000 in 2011 hiring lobbying firm Holland and Knight according to Open Secrets.[11]

Transparency & public records

External links