The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 15, 2012

District judge denies reconsideration in open meetings ruling

CLINTON — A district judge has struck down a motion in an Open Meetings Law violation ruling involving the city of Clinton.

Defendants, including former Mayor Rodger Holm, former councilman Mike Kearney, current council members Jennifer Graf, Paul Gassman, Charles Mulholland, Bev Hermann and Maggie Klaes and current Mayor Mark Vulich, filed a motion on Aug. 17 to amend or reconsider the ruling on the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in the case involving a former human resource director. In that summary judgement, District Judge Mark Smith ruled the defendants had violated the Open Meetings Law on Sept. 13 when they went into a closed session during a committee of the whole meeting to discuss the elimination of the three departments as well as what, if any, severance pay would be paid to individual employees.

The plaintiff in the case is David Geisler, former human resources director, whose department and job were cut as the city sought to chisel $800,000 from its budget after a shortfall was discovered last summer.

According to court documents, the defendants, through their attorney Cynthia S. Sueppel, argued the ruling be amended or reconsidered because some of the subject matter discussed at the closed meeting on Sept. 13 was also discussed, in part, at other open meetings.  

“The defendants cite no case law to support their position in this regard. The assertion that this subject matter was further discussed at open meetings indicates to the court that the reasons given for the September 13, 2011, closed meetings were not, in fact, valid reasons for closing the meeting under the statute,” Smith wrote in his ruling on the motion to amend or reconsider.

Defendants also alleged the closed sessions were held to discuss “strategy” relating to the employment condition of employees who were not covered by the collective bargaining agreement, according to court documents.  

Court documents also show the defendants asserted the amount of severance was the only issue discussed at the closed session meeting. After reviewing the transcript of the meeting, Smith found this was not the case.

Smith denied the motion on Sept 4.

In August, the defendants were informed they will face fines for the Open Meetings Act violation ranging from $100 to $2,500 based on what they knew going into the closed session.  

The amount, if any, will be determined during the penalty phase, which will be set for hearing at the same time as the trial on another alleged violation by the defendants concerning a Sept. 2 closed City Council session.

That trial is set for 9 a.m. Oct 1.

Text Only
  • AGENDA: 4-22-14 Clinton City Council

    The Clinton City Council will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. followed by a committee of the whole.

    April 18, 2014

  • Theft trial for man charged in Wolfe sisters' murders

    A western Pennsylvania man accused of having robbed and killed his next-door neighbors, two sisters of Iowa Rep. Mary Wolfe, now also faces trial on charges that he stole another woman's wedding ring a year ago.

    State police in Greensburg allege that 43-year-old Allen Wade of East Liberty, Pa., stole the ring while delivering a refrigerator to a home in April 2013. Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway on Thursday agreed to schedule the case for trial.

    April 18, 2014

  • More felonies added to sex abuse charges CLINTON -- A Clinton man already facing multiple felony charges for allegedly sexually abusing a child is now facing six more felonies for sexual exploitation of a child. Tony D. James, 45, was charged this past weekend with six counts of sexual expl

    April 18, 2014

  • Wildlife service to conduct burnings CLINTON -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct several prescribed burns this spring. The burns will take place on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties. Sites planned for burning

    April 18, 2014

  • River Kings light up the Day DAVENPORT -- Clinton continued its strong season in boys track and field, taking first place Thursday at the Jesse Day Relays on the final day of qualifying for the Drake Relays. The River Kings scored 138 points. Solon edged Davenport Central 120-11

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18-14 3C-Photo, Rasche Clinton tennis splits with Muscatine CLINTON -- The Clinton tennis team faced Muscatine at Max Lynn Tennis Complex on Thursday where it was a tale of two duals. The girls' team won 9-0 over the Muskies while the River Kings fell 8-1. Queens sail in sweep In the six singles matches, not

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women jailed on meth charges

    CLINTON -- Two Clinton women are currently being held in the Clinton County jail on $50,000 cash-only bonds for methamphetamine charges. Jessica L. Crabtree, 29, 215 10th Ave. North, and Tera A. Riddle, 27, 611 1/2 S. Seventh St., were arrested last

    April 18, 2014

  • Photo exhibit 2 'Hats Off' Art exhibit covers downtown (With Map & Video)

    CLINTON -- A clown. Clinton High wrestlers. An expecting mother. A young Mozart. These faces and more all peered through downtown storefronts Thursday. They're there again today, too. Looking back at them was photographer Jean Black. They are her way

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Monaghan wins his first fight

    LAS VEGAS -- Clinton native Todd Monaghan won his first fight on The Ultimate Fighter's 19th season premiere by defeating Jake Huen for a spot to get into the house on the reality show. Much like his life, Monaghan fough

    April 18, 2014

  • LumberKings end a four-game slide BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- The Clinton LumberKings used a 5-run 6th inning to snap a four-game losing streak Thursday night against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The win was the L'Kings' sixth of the season, and they picked up a game on five of the six team

    April 18, 2014

Clinton Herald Photos

Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.