Beyond determining where the money will come from, at the heart of the Jan. 30 trial will be whether or not the city council members knowingly violated the law, which will determine what fines the judge imposes.
Under Iowa’s Open Records law, fines of $100 to $500 can be assessed against each member who participated in the violation for each of the six sessions. If the member knowingly violated the law, fines range from $1,000 to $2,500 per closed session.
According to the order issued by Barrows, the new trial date will allow the city to procure additional witnesses and conduct settlement negotiations in light of Greve’s ruling.
A status conference on the case has been scheduled for Jan. 24.
Farwell was not available for comment on Wednesday’s negotiations or whether the city will appeal Greve’s ruling.