IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court is warning government officials that they cannot make decisions in private by negotiating agreements through third parties.
The court ruled Friday that Iowa's open meetings law extends to all in-person meetings in which a majority of a board is present "by virtue of an agent or a proxy."
The first-of-its-kind ruling in Iowa comes in a case involving the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
To avoid discussing a controversial downsizing plan in public, the board's three members met individually with the county administrator to negotiate details. The administrator passed along concerns and feedback raised by members to the others.
County employees who were laid off filed a lawsuit alleging the board had violated the open meetings law. Friday's 4-3 decision reinstates the case for further proceedings.