Commissioners' Meeting Minutes - Minutes of the February 9, 2012 Meeting

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Minutes of the February 9, 2012 Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission




I.          Roll Call: Chapman, Lipski, Spicer, Williams, Morain


Staff: Townsend


Public: Arnold Woods, President, NAACP, Des Moines Chapter; Rev Keith Ratliff, Russ Lovell, Max Knauer, Leonard Bates, Matt Ukabiala, Sharon K. Brown, Jonathon Wilson, other members of local NAACP, ICRC staff  




II.        Minutes from October  meeting: approved by unanimous consent




III.       NAACP Presentation by Arnold Woods and Rev Keith Ratliff.




            Local NAACP discussed concerns about historically low PC rate, lack of public hearings, public uncertainty about meaning of “probable cause”, lack of representation of Complainants, how complainants allegations are evaluated, appearance of funding as motivation to close cases faster and more often, and whether ICRC is available to help public - all of which operate to negatively impact the ability of the ICRC to be a credible law enforcement agency.  See attached letter, report and written comments for specifics and basis of concerns discussed in the meeting.  Discussed various recommendations for improvements with Commissioners, Executive Director and staff.   Director Townsend reported changes undertaken since February 2011 to address similar concerns previously identified.  For instance reported reduction of the non-housing investigative backlog by 50% between high in May 2011 and January 2012; overhaul of investigative process in August 2011; renewed focus on in-depth screening analysis since August 2010; reclassification of three CRS positions; reorganization of the administrative unit to speed processing; changing mediation program in March 11 to volunteer mediators; and revisions of complaint form and questionnaires. 




IV.       Reports – due to the length of time spent with the NAACP, minimal reports were given. 




V.        Next Meeting was set for April 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm at the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.