Commissioners' Meeting "Approved" Minutes - January 21, 2022

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - 4:30pm

Approved Minutes – Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission,

January 22, 2022


* A motion to ask Patricia Lipski to lead the meeting was made by Commissioner Johnston, seconded by Commission Kooiker. Approved by vote. Motion carried.


                                I.            Roll Call -

Commissioners: Gina Battani, Justin Johnston, Sam Kooiker, Patricia Lipski, Dennis Mandsager.


                             II.            Recognition of Staff, Public, Press –

Staff: Stan Thompson, Kaitlin Smith, Charles Hill, Katie Fiala, Sierra Walker, Kerry Hainline, Amy Quail, Samantha Nordstrom, Adam Brewster, Roberto Rodriguez Peterson, Brenna Bormann, Joe Austen, Austin Moore, Jacob Bennington.


                          III.            Approval of Minutes –

Minutesfrom meetings on December 17, 2021, were presented.A motion to approve the minutes wasmadebyCommissioner Kooiker,secondedbyCommissioner Mandsager.Approved by vote. Motion carried.


                          IV.            Introduction of Executive Director Stan Thompson


Current/Ongoing Business

                             V.            Status Report on Workgroups.

a.       Discussion on request for salary increases – Commissioner Mandsager discussed the report he had prepared with Commissioner White and Commissioner Battani discussed the report she prepared. Director Thompson discussed his and Kaitlin Smith’s recent meeting with DAS employees on possibilities for obtaining additional compensation for current and future employees. Questions were raised regarding a request for additional funds directly from the Justice System Appropriations Subcommittee. Director will report to Commissioners on need for such a request.

                                VI.      Outreach Update – Joe Austen

a.       Conducted a virtual training with the Iowa Department of Human Rights.

b.      CRS Mat Gore presented a Fair Housing training to Newbury Property Management.

c.       CRS Joe Austen and AAG Katie Fiala presented a CLE for administrative law judges at the Department of Inspections and Appeals.

d.      Upcoming outreach includes the Drake Career Fair in February and then the Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth in April.

e.       Commissioners Kooiker and Battani asked questions regarding outreach efforts with ICRC’s social media sites, which CRS Sierra Walker answered.

                             VII.         Status of Posting Agenda, Minutes, and Meeting Recordings – Charles Hill reported on the recent conversation with the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) regarding those posting of the audio of commission meetings. Discussion ensured regarding various options for posting the audio. Also discussed the possibility of having meetings via Zoom in the future.

                           VIII.         Discussion on Intake and Review Process – Commissioner Kooiker asked questions regarding the complaint intake process, which ICRC staff responded to. Commissioner Battani also shared her thoughts on the complaint process. Questions were raised regarding usage and accessibility of the website and staff will review.

                                IX.         Discussion on updates to website – Commissioner Battani made several suggestions regarding the content of the ICRC websites, and possible improvements that could be made to the website. Kaitlin Smith requested that Commissioner Battani email her a list of her suggestions. The list from that email is attached as an addendum to these minutes.


          New Business

                                   X.         Discussion on Preliminary Budget Request Process – Discussion ensued regarding the budget request process, and possible requests for an increase in budget for FY22 and FY23. Commissioner Kooiker made a motion to seek a budget increase equivalent three Civil Rights Specialist FTEs, which Commissioner Battani seconded. Director Thompson suggested he should first review the current budget further and see if there was any data to support the motion to make a larger budget requests. Commissioner Kooiker made a motion that the motion be “tabled,”, essentially asking for in to be continued to the next meeting, which Commissioner Mandsager seconded. Approved by vote. Motion carried.

                                XI.         Discussion on training and outreach materials in relation to HF2647 (2020) and the City of Des Moines Ordinance NO. 15,906 (2020) – Commissioner Battani discussed her concerns regarding the status of training to both the ICRC staff and the public regarding biased policing, the police reform bill, and the amendment to the Des Moines police ordinance, and asked questions regarding such, which ICRC staff addressed. Specifically, Commissioner Battani indicated the law doesn’t direct the ICRC to educate on LGBTQ and transgender issues, or to put on fair housing lectures and then asked why the ICRC hasn’t been proactive in providing education on biased policing. Charles Hill responded that the ICRC has not provided that training. Commissioner Kooiker made a motion to continue the discussion to give the director and staff an opportunity to respond, which Commissioner Battani seconded. Approved by vote. Motion carried. Commissioner Mandsager discussed recent contacts he had with staff at the Law Enforcement Academy regarding the bias training that had been implemented.

                             XII.         Discussion on Iowa Administrative Code §161-3.12(1)(b)(2) regarding requests for extensions – Commissioner Battani asked questions and raised concerns regarding extensions, the number of days that can be given for an extension per Iowa code, how the extension policy is implemented by ICRC staff, and her general understanding of the extension policy, which Kaitlin Smith addressed. Kaitlin Smith explained that 14-day extensions were granted to either party without requiring a reason, while any further extension would only be granted if there was some sort of emergency situation preventing the party from proving their response. Commissioner Battani indicated that Kaitlin Smith’s answers helped explain some of her questions, and indicated that it would be helpful to take a look at the wording on the website and in the ICRC’s initial docketing letter to parties after a complaint is filed.

                          XIII.         Public Comment – None.


          Standing Business

                           XIV.         Director’s report

a.       Office Updates – Director Thompson provided an overview of the events he attended in celebration of MLK Day. He discussed having commissioners contact him directly with concerns or include him to any communications to staff. Lastly, he discussed having a presentation from the Iowa Public Information Board at the next meeting.

b.      Status of Federal Contracts – Charles Hill provided an update on the status of the ICRC’s process on federal contracts.

c.       Employee Updates -  Charles Hill provided information regarding three employees who recently passed off of probation.


                             XV.         Litigation Update – Katie Fiala reported on a recent court of appeals decision in the ICRC’s favor. 


                           XVI.         Commissioners’ Reports

a.       Commissioner Gina Battani – Discussed events she attended in celebration of MLK day and her communications with Latrice Lacey of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission and Luana Nelson-Brown of the Iowa Coalition for Collective Change regarding bias trainings.

b.      Commissioner Justin Johnston – Nothing to report.

c.       Commissioner Sam Kooiker – Thanked Charles Hill for his service over the past year of transition at the ICRC.

d.      Commissioner Patricia Lipski – Discussed the possibility of using some kind of video conferencing for future commission meetings.

e.       Commissioner Dennis Mandsager – Thanked the ICRC staff for their work.


                              XVII.      Next Meeting – Next commission meeting scheduled for February 18, 2022.


A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Commissioner Kooiker, seconded by Commissioner Johnston. Approved by vote. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned by Commissioner Lipski.