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
  • photo-55.JPG UPDATE: 17-year-old fell, airlifted at Eagle Point Park (with VIDEO)

    A 17-year-old male was airlifted to Iowa City Monday afternoon after he fell approximately 80 feet from the bluff at Eagle Point Park. The male was not identified by authorities.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Interest in Ernst rises as his game does, too

    Brady Ernst is having a summer to remember.
    The rising River King senior is spending the summer playing for the Iowa Barnstormers traveling basketball team. This weekend they're playing in the Fab48 tournament in Las Vegas.

    July 26, 2014

  • PHOTOS: Clinton Junior Baseball 2014 Tournament Winners

    Clinton Junior Baseball 2014 Tournament Winners - Majors, Minors, Pee Wee

    July 25, 2014

  • JUST IN: Man shot in downtown Clinton

    A 32-year-old man was shot in downtown Clinton early today.

    July 25, 2014

  • YWCA offers lifeguard training

    CLINTON — The YWCA will offer lifeguard training in August.The course will be held from Aug. 4 to 10 at the YWCA. This 30-hour class will meet from 5 to 9 p.m. for four weeknights and from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. A possibility of adding a class from 1

    July 25, 2014

  • Concurrent terms ordered in burglary case

    CLINTON — A Clinton man will serve four concurrent prison terms for his role in a string of 2012 burglaries.Assistant Clinton County Attorney Amanda Myers on Thursday requested the court to order Cory Mitchell, 38, to serve as much as 10 years in pri

    July 25, 2014

  • Whitecaps take away Clinton offense CLINTON — The Clinton LumberKings (13-19, 43-57) mustered only five hits as the visiting West Michigan Whitecaps (20-12, 61-41) shut down the hometown club at Ashford University Field.Whitecaps’ starter Jonathon Crawford (6-2) allowed only four men t

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-25-14 1B-Photo, Clinton track Clinton king of Brady DAVENPORT — It might not have been the blue oval, but Clinton track can place its mark at the top of the hill.The quartet of Barrion Collins, Marquis Robinson, Quavon Jones and Deshond Robinson won the high school boys division of the Battle Up Brady

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Habitat for Humanity hosts fundraiser

    CLINTON — Habitat for Humanity will host a fundraiser in Thomson, Illinois.The Clinton County group will showcase Laid Back Luau from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Heirloom Cafe in Thomson. The event will feature games, prizes, music train rides for

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-24-14 1B-Photo, Choice 2 Cinderella run ends DUBUQUE — The playoff run was fun while it lasted. Dubuque Hempstead, the No. 1-ranked baseball team in Class 4A entering Wednesday, ended Clinton’s chances at back-to-back appearances in the state tournament in Des Moines. The Mustangs knocked out t

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

Clinton Herald Photos

Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.