Approved Minutes-Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission
May 19, 2023
I. Roll Call
Meeting called to order by Chair Ordaz at 1:26 pm. Commissioners De Kock, Kennedy,
Mandsager, Ordaz, and White appeared in person. Commissioners Kooiker and Ford appeared
II. Recognition of Staff, Public, and Press
Staff: Kristen Stiffler, Charles Hill, Kaitlin Smith, Anthony Pawnell, in person; Fred Sinkevich, Joe Austen, Jacob Bennington, Ramona Ubaldo, Jennifer Verhein and Roberto Rodriguez-Peterson appeared virtually. Katie Fiala, Assistant Attorney General appeared in person.
Public: Monica Stone, Deputy Director Department Iowa Human Rights, in person. John Danas, Intern, Russell Lovell, NAACP; Zach Engstrom, Senate Democrat staff. Betty Andrews, NAACP, appeared virtually during the Department of Human Rights presentation.
III. Introduction of the ICRC’s new Executive Director, Kristen Stiffler
Director Stiffler provided an introduction of self and overview of the Executive Director position for the completion of 2023.
IV. Approval of Minutes from April 21, 2023 meeting
Minutes from the previous meeting were presented and Commissioner Mandsager moved to approve. Commissioner White seconded and minutes were unanimously approved.
V. Public Comment
No public comment
VI. Election of Officers
Motion by Commissioner Kooiker to re-elect Chairwoman Ordaz and Commissioner White as Vice Chairwoman. Commissioner Ordaz was unanimously approved as Chairwoman, and Commissioner White was unanimously approved as Vice Chairwoman.
VII. Discussion of commission meeting public comment decorum and adoption of commission rules Commissioner Ordaz provided the City of Shelton’s public decorum rules and recommended adopting City of Shelton’s public decorum rules temporarily for June and July meetings with minor changes regarding not needing to provide an address. Discussion between Commissioners and Executive Director regarding potential decorum rules and meeting rules for commissioners. Commissioner White motioned and Commissioner Kennedy second to have this agenda item to appear on the agenda for June meeting and was approved unanimously. Commissioner White motioned and Commissioner De Kock seconded the approval for temporary decorum rules for June and July. Motion approved unanimously.
VIII. Discussion of ICRC’s Red Tape Review pursuant to Executive Order 10 and opportunities and
challenges to conducting substantive rule changes simultaneously.
Executive Director Stiffler presented information regarding Executive Order 10 and the challenges for substantive changes during the moratorium. Commissioner Ordaz requested a timeline to better understand how stakeholders would be engaged in the substantive rules process. Commissioner Kooiker asked question to Russell Lovell, NAACP. Agenda topic to be included for the next Commission meeting.
IX. Presentation by Monica Stone, Deputy Director of the Department of Human Rights Deputy Director Stone provided a presentation of the work of the Department and how the Department engages in advocacy within the state and the legislative process.
X. Director’s Report
a. DIAL Attachment – July 1, 2023 ICRC will become an attached unit of DIAL. ICRC will be moving to Hoover in Fall 2023 and working through the logistics of moving.
b. Staff Update—New hires: Jamila started working as a Civil Rights Specialist. All CRS positions are currently filled. Hiring 4 part-time investigators to support non-housing unit.
c. Production: Housing production – 110 complaints have been submitted to HUD for credit with the ideal at 140 (Last year ICRC completed 120). The Housing Unit should come very close to meeting the projected goal. Non-housing production is on course to meet our normal number with 391 cases being closed so far this contract year.
XI. Caselaw and Legislative Update
Senate File 542 Youth employment bill – waiting for Governor’s signature
Klossner v. IADU Table Mound MHP
Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission v. Knueven
Vasquez, et. al. vs Iowa Department of Human Services
Burnett v. Smith
XII. Commissioners’ Reports
a. Commissioner Holly White – Appreciation for vote to be Commission’s Vice Chair. Requesting when discussions occur regarding legislation to discuss the factual elements of the bill and to not use slang.
b. Commissioner Marcelena Ordaz – Appreciation for vote to be Commissioner’s Chair.
c. Commissioner Dennis Mandsager- The Iowa Bar Association is looking to add a civil rights section to the Association. Spoke to customs of the Commission.
d. Commissioner Sam Kooiker – Asked if legal counsel will be retained for the ICRC hearing. Tyler Eason will be the Assistant Attorney General assisting the Commission for the hearing.
e. Commissioner Don De Kock – Appreciative to serve on the Commission.
f. Commissioner Dr. Kit Ford – Appreciative to serve on the Commission.
g. Commissioner Daniel Kennedy – Appreciative to serve on the Commission.
XIII. Set Next Meeting for June 16, at 1:30 p.m., location to be announced.
Due to malfunction of the chat box, if any member of the public would like to submit written comments that had planned to use the chat feature during the Commission meeting, please email Kristen.firstname.lastname@example.org to submit those comments for the meeting.
XIV. Adjournment at 3:13PM
Kristen Stiffler, Executive Director Date