Iowa's new Public Information Board holds second meeting

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August 30, 2012

Iowa

By Greg Janetka

DES MOINES, Iowa: The Iowa Public Information Board, which was created earlier this year by the state Legislature, held its second meeting on August 21. The independent organization, which is tasked with oversight and enforcement of the state public meetings and open records law, held it's first meeting on July 19. However, the only public notice given was a posted meeting agenda on a bulletin board by the governor's office, thus few people even knew it was happening.[1]

While the IPIB does not yet have a budget, administrative rules, or staff, it has until July 2013 to become fully operational. Bill Monroe, the former executive director of the Iowa Newspaper Association, serves as the board's chairman. At the meeting he addressed the role of the new organization, stating, “Most people start out with the assumption that 99.7 percent of people who handle public records want to do the right thing, but they don’t always know what the right thing is. We are not a gotcha agency. We are more of an agency where you can call for help and we will get you the right information.”[2]

Made up of nine members appointed by the governor, the panel will hear and mediate disputes related to public meetings and open records between citizens and government bodies, with the power to issue fines of up to $2,500 for violations.[3]

The members represent the media, public, and government. They are as follows:[4]

  • Bill Monroe, Board Chair -Media Representative
  • Robert Andeweg - Government Representative
  • Anthony Gaughan - Public Representative
  • Jo Martin - Media Representative
  • Andrew McKean - Public Representative
  • Gary Mohr - Government Representative
  • Kathleen Richardson - Media Representative
  • Suzan Stewart - Public Representative
  • Peggy Weitl - Government Representative
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