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Approved Minutes – Sept. 23, 2016 Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission
I.Roll Call: Jackson (Chair), Lipski (by phone), Conley, Cunningham
Staff: Director Johnson, ICRC staff Poggenklass and Gore
II.Minutes from 9-23-15 to be corrected to reflect Commissioner Jackson’s (formerly Williams) change of name. Motion by Cunningham, seconded by Conley to approve minutes from 9-23-15; motion approved.
a.Commissioner Angela Jackson – Commissioner Jackson assisted at the ICRC State Fair booth in August. The questions and photo posting were a good way to get the public engaged. But location was not ideal, so hopefully we can get a better location next year.
b.Commissioner Lawrence Cunningham – nothing to report.
c.Commissioner Tom Conley – Commissioner Conley wondered whether the ICRC can issue recognition to Iowans who have worked to eliminate discrimination. There is nothing currently in place to do this, but at times it could create the appearance of a conflict of interests, as the ICRC is the enforcement body, and if a recipient of such an award were to be the subject of a complaint, there could be a perception of bias. Commissioner Jackson suggested Friends of Iowa Civil Rights be contacted, as that organization does accept nominations for award recognition. Director Johnson offered to provide more information.
d.Commissioner Patricia Lipski – Commissioner Lipski was pleased to report that the Mt. Pleasant area is working toward establishing a local area chapter of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens).
IV.Director’s Report – Director Johnson reported the ICRC has been asked to submit a status quo budget again this year, for the fifth year in a row. But it might be possible to submit a request for funding of an electronic, paperless case management system, which would increase efficiencies in the ICRC’s daily operations. Director Johnson also presented statistics on outreach efforts at the Iowa State Fair. It was estimated that the Facebook reach increased 4,064% from previous Facebook reach. DART advertising was estimated to have reached 231,210 people who rode the State Fair shuttle. The Commission gave away approximately 12,000 promotional items, compared with 10,000 two years ago. The ICRC was awarded $20,000 in funds from HUD to finance these outreach efforts. The ICRC Symposium is October 28, 2016, and all Commissioners are invited. Director Johnson also reminded Commissioners of the statutory attendance requirements for Commissioners.
V.Commissioner Cunningham asked about the federal limits on damage awards in discrimination cases. Director Johnson will provide citations to the authority by email. Commissioner Conley complimented Director Johnson on training efforts of investigators to ensure impartiality.
VI.Next meeting will be on October 21, 2016 at the Grimes Building at 2:00 pm.
VII.At approximately 3:35 pm, it was moved by Commissioner Conley, seconded by Commissioner Cunningham, to adjourn to closed session pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5(1)(c) (2015) (“To discuss strategy with counsel in matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation.”) A roll call vote was held and all members of the Commission present voted to go to closed session deliberations.
The Commission exited closed session at approximately 4:05 pm after motion by Commissioner Lipski, seconded by Commissioner Conley. Motion approved by roll call vote.
At approximately 4:06 pm, Commissioner Jackson moved that the Commission adjourn, seconded by Commissioner Cunningham, motion approved unanimously.