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Minutes – October 9, 2015 Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission
I. Roll Call: Williams, Lipski (by phone), Conley (by phone), Cunningham, Oelschlaeger, Hou, Hosford
Staff: Director Johnson, Duffelmeyer, Rowe, Greenberg, Petree Hampton, Smith, H. Johnson, Portillo- Moreno
AG: Fiala, Bennett
Counsel for the parties: Beth Hansen, Richard Book
II. Motion by Hosford, seconded by Cunningham to approve Minutes from 9-18-15; motion approved.
III. Public hearing on CP# 06-13-64394.Arguments were heard from Complainant, represented by Richard Book; the ICRC, represented by Katie Fiala, and Respondent, represented by Beth Hansen. Commissioners asked questions and participated in active discussion around issue presented on appeal, i.e. whether the ALJ’s refusal to allow Complainant to intervene was rendered moot by a subsequent settlement of the claim. Complainant asked the Commission to reverse the ALJ’s ruling. The ICRC and Respondent asked the Commission to dismiss the appeal as moot. For issues presented to the Commission, see briefs filed by parties. The representatives were thanked for their time and dedication in presenting excelling arguments and informed the Commission will conduct deliberations on the matter in closed session after other business has been discussed.
IV. Commissioners’ Reports
a. Commissioner Angela Williams – she has been asked to speak to the Burlington NAACP on Oct. 25.
b. Commissioner Patricia Lipski – nothing to report.
c. Commissioner Lawrence Cunningham – attended an open forum at ISU with senior administrators and students wherein students expressed concerns of discrimination in the community on the basis of race and ethnicity. This should be of note to the Commission as there appears to be a rising tide of concern at some of the Regents institutions from the student perspective about their perceived rights as students. We should continue to be aware of the issue. The participants in the forum indicated a willingness to address the concerns.
d. Commissioner Doug Oelschlaeger – nothing to report.
e. Commissioner Tom Conley – commented that the Executive Director is doing an outstanding job. Commissioner Conley has arranged for an external notification mechanism, which is not expected to cost the ICRC anything to set up. It places a “push” on the state email that will notify Commissioners at their personal emails when an official email of ICRC business has been received.
f. Commissioner Lily LiJun Hou – nothing to report. Asked if Commissioners can sign up yet for the Symposium. Director Johnson noted that there is a deadline to sign up.
g. Commissioner Mathew Hosford – nothing to report.
V. Director’s Report – reported on the number of complaints by local commission jurisdiction, in response to the request from the September meeting. Des Moines has the highest number of complaints, followed by Waterloo. Director suggested the ICRC ask Des Moines to host a meeting at the Science Center in connection with the Science of Race exhibit. Director has reached out to Waterloo to inquire whether it would be willing to host an ICRC meeting but has received no response. The third highest number of complaints comes from Davenport.
Director Johnson also reminded the Commission about the 3rd Annual Be the Change Symposium on November 6 and invited Commissioners to attend. As employees for tax purposes, Commissioners can attend and pay only the tax on the value of the meal.
V. At approximately 1:47 pm, a motion was made by Commissioner Oelschlaeger and seconded by Commissioner Lipski to close for deliberations pursuant to Iowa Code § 21.5(1)(f) to discuss a decision to be rendered in a contested case. A roll call vote was held and all members of the Commission present voted to go to closed session deliberations. Director Johnson excused herself from closed session due to her representation of the Commission in an earlier phase of the case.
VI. At approximately 2:30 pm, the Commission left closed session. Commissioner Lipski moved that the Commission affirm the decision of the ALJ and deny the Interlocutory Appeal which denied the Motion to Intervene because the issue is now moot. Commissioner Conley seconded the Motion. Each member stated his or her vote upon roll call approving the motion. See signed order for the written record of the vote.
Meeting adjourned after motion and vote to adjourn.