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Supervisors meeting abruptly ended after tough questions

This news story was published on September 4, 2012.
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Cerro Gordo County Supervisors Phil Dougherty (left) and Jay Urdahl (right) immediately before they took questions from Marquardt.

MASON CITY – A regular meeting of the Cerro Gordo County Supervisors was abruptly ended by Supervisors Jay Urdahl and Phil Dougherty Tuesday morning after questions from Publisher Matt Marquardt regarding public access to the board.

Supervisor Jay Urdahl declared that his board will “consider” changes to their meeting agendas so that they clearly indicate that the public has access to the board and may address the board.

Agendas for this week’s meetings from three neighboring counties were given to Urdahl.  Worth, Floyd and Franklin county agendas clearly indicate that the public is welcome at meetings and may have access to the board;  Cerro Gordo County Supervisor meeting agendas make no such indication.

Urdahl stated last year that the board would not attach any additional information to agenda items to help give the public background on those items, but he did say that if someone “comes by the office after the meeting” (after the agenda items are already acted upon or voted upon) they would answer questions.

In other business, the county employee handbook was revised and approved.

Supervisor Bob Amosson was absent.  It was said by a county employee that he was fishing today.

A Globe Gazette reporter in the Cerro Gordo County Supervisors’ office prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

Watch the video:


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38 Responses to Supervisors meeting abruptly ended after tough questions

  1. kyle klinksiek Reply Report comment

    September 5, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Wow. That’s all I got.

  2. Joe Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm


  3. in re: public input during meetings Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    From Attorney General’s Site – Iowa:

    Members of the public who wish to address the government body should notify public officials in advance, so time for public comment on agenda items can be scheduled in the meeting at the discretion of the public officials.

    While not required, public officials should consider routinely adding to the agenda a structured time for public comment. Allowing reasonable public participation gives Iowans a unique opportunity to connect with their government.

  4. some info. Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    From Office of Attorney General – Iowa (below)

    Note the agendas needing to be detailed with enough information for the public to understand what is going to be discussed – think this is one of the issues that was raised by Matt.

    Here are some basic principles for advance agendas for public meetings:
    •Tentative agendas must be posted in a prominent place at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, except in case of a bona fide emergency. (Iowa Code section 21.4.) For example, tentative agendas may be posted at an accessible bulletin board designated for that purpose at the office and provided to news media who have filed a request for notice.
    •Agendas must provide notice sufficient to inform the public of the specific actions to be taken and matters to be discussed at the meeting. (An agenda that merely states “Approve minutes, old business, new business” does not provide reasonable notice to the public.) Notice also must include the time, date and place of meetings.
    •The precise detail needed to communicate effectively will depend on the situation, including whether the public is familiar with an issue. The less the public knows about an issue, the more detail is needed in the tentative agenda.

  5. Open Meeting Laws Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Matt, you are on it on this one.

    Kind of interesting how Jay was hiding behind the wall there.

    These issues were addressed in the legislature I believe two sessions ago – open meeting laws. When I get time, I will look up the info.

    There are entities you can make formal complaints to if you want to Matt. You certainly have the proof.

    As a former county employee, I can attest there definitely was problems with the way these meetings were run; twas the old boys club and they usually lasted a matter of minutes; were not scheduled or held to provide easy access to the public and didn’t provide an opportunity for public input; yes, decisions were made out of the meeting and then just formalized in the meeting.

    I really do not have a problem with Cerro Gordo County in any way, but I did have concerns with these meetings at the time.

  6. Crawford Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    You will never get a straight honest answer from J. U. He never is and never has been honest.

  7. post Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Hey anonymous if you weren’t such a cronie butt kisser maybe you would get some respect from this site. But since you are why don’t you just run over to the beavis and buttwhiler gazette and shed a tear. Great job Matt as usual.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Am I not entitled to my opinion, just as you are entitled to yours? Or does this not apply when posting on this blog? I have made valid points, without resorting to childish name-calling and bullying. If the editor of this “news site” calls the globe gazette biased, he is only proving that he is biased in the opposite extreme. This isn’t journalism. This is posting whatever you can to rile people up and gain followers to your blog.

      • another anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm

        To Anonymous post at 8:16. You are right on. Absolutely correct. Stir up controversy is the name of the game on this sight. Don’t worry about all the name calling, profanity & attacks. The more the better suits NIT.

      • anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

        If you don’t like name calling, attacks and profanity then why do you come here? I’m sure their is some other place on the web you could go.

      • get the truth out Reply Report comment

        September 7, 2012 at 7:47 am

        Ever since Marsters beat the “snell thief” in an election some odd years because he was wanting the city to build his brand new building for his ambulance service, I started paying a little more attention to just how corrupt the government officials are at the local level too.

        In a nut shell, the rich protect their own. The rich pad their rich buddies pockets. The rich also want to protect their “power” from us common folk interrupting “business as usual”. Remaining behind closed doors (city or county) is one way to accomplish their goals and keep the truth from coming to light on what the truth is.

        Matt probably could be “somewhat” more tactful but I have to give a tremendous amount of credit for the courage to try to bring the corruption to the surface! If one of us common folks that are not rich try to bring the truth to the surface, we would be broomed to the curb with a quickness. Shunned by the rich folks. So most of us know enough to just shut up and deal with the corruption. BTW, that’s what the rich folks would prefer us to do …

        Matts news website brings the corruption to surface in a public forum. The city and the county could be should be transparent and honest about the business that affects the citizens.

        If you (the common/honest folks) are not happy with either the city or county, you have the right to vote them out of office. This leads to another issue with our corrupt system of government. The rich can afford to “buy” votes. Us common folk do not have the resources to compete.

        That leads to another issue, what common/honest folks wants to run for office at the local level and deal with the corruption, dirty politics, back stabbing, legal extortion, what have ya. I don’t … I would end up in jail.

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        September 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm

        Get the truth out: it sounds to me like you have just defined the Republican party and what they stand for. this is the very reason I am a DEMOCRAT

  8. curious Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    apparently they had the meeting? I was looking on the county website and did not see the public meeting announced. The globe is reporting things that were discussed at the meeting. When was it? Isn’t it against the law for the board of sups. to hold a meeting without making it public? Who do I make a complaint to if they did not announce it if it is supposed to be?

    • complain to Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Citizens who have inquiries or complaints may call the Iowa Citizens’ Aide/Ombudsman Office – toll-free at 888-IA-OMBUD (888-426-6283.)

      From Attorney General’s site in Iowa.

  9. dandydon Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Heck with all the comments about Phil and Jay………….who is the hot chick in all the pictures of the supervisors meetings??

  10. Taxpayer Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Good for NIT ! Seems like they night be hiding something – like maybe some brains !

    County needs new leadership for sure !

  11. curious Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Having known all 3 of these men personally for years – since I was a child, (including Amosson even though he wasn’t there today) I would have to say that I am more than disappointed that they wouldn’t answer questions from Matt. I personally have never had a problem with talking to Phil – I’ve had some county issues in the past and they were taken care of right away as were issues that family members of mine has had. I went to the county website after reading this article and indeed there is an agenda for this morning’s meeting. Having said that, I do not know if it was there BEFORE the meeting. However I do not see the minutes of this morning’s meeting that should state that at least it was adjourned.

    I will be watching in the future to see if the minutes of today’s adjournment, date of the future meeting that should take this mornings meeting’s place, and future agenda’s and minutes of future meetings and whether they are posted via the county website in a timely manner both before and after the meetings.

    I would have to agree that in this day and age with camera phones, voice recording devices, social media, etc.,- it should not matter at all who or why someone would want to record a public meeting, post it on a blog, or even ask questions. I don’t care who that person or entity is – freedom of speech should not be hindered. Most of all when it comes to our government – unless it has to do with public personnel matters (i.e. public employees and their jobs).

    I am rather bewildered on the reasons why they will not answer the questions – if they do not know the answers, say that, but also offer to find the answers and get back to the person answering and then be sure to do so. I sit down with my kids and bore them to death discussing government issues. Why? I want them to understand government. It affects them and their future generations. I encourage them to go to a variety of media sources, public records, and other ways available to them to make informed decisions. Listen to opinions of others as well, it will help them understand why our government officials choose something that they may not think is the correct choice. Find out the reasons. That includes reading this website believe it or not.

    Now, as a parent and a citizen, friend and neighbor of these men, I am left asking my own questions and trying to answer my kids’ questions on WHY did they adjourn the meeting and WHY did they not want to answer questions. I do not know what to tell them. I believe I will just have them call them themselves and ask. I have a right to ask questions, they have a right to ask questions, we all have a right to ask questions. Go to the phonebook, (or online is easy enough too) look up their numbers, (home or courthouse) and call and ask them these questions… Will they answer? I won’t know until I speak with them…

    • curious Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      As I was thinking, maybe the population of C.G. county was the reason for public comment being omitted from the agenda simply because of time restraints for the meeting. I went to Polk county website and checked out their agenda. Now, realize that Cerro Gordo County population was 44,151 according to the 2010 census, Polk County population was 430,640. Polk County’s agenda has an spot set aside for public comment. Just FYI.

    • in re: to photographing or taping Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      Public Access to Open Meetings

      Did you know that any member of the public has the right to take photographs or make tape recordings at any open session of a governmental meeting?

      From Attorney General’s Site – Iowa.

  12. Bobby G Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Sounds a lot like that town in California. I think the name of the town was Bell.

  13. Faye Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    our whole system in MC is corrupt I hope all the decent people get out and vote

  14. mx.racer Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Thay dont want the pubilc in. Simple as that thay think thay are above the laws that give us the right to be there.The school system dident even know the laws thay are required to corrupt is this town?Keep digging matt you will be suprised just how deep the corruption is..Good job!

  15. Terry Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    maybe they can address the lack of Fairgrounds support.

  16. B. Franklin Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    What are these two men hiding, and why are they laughing about this? The founding fathers would be ashamed of this behavior.

  17. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Maybe if you were less combative, rude and confrontational in the asking of your “tough” questions, people would be more willing to answer them….also, why the big emphasis on the fact that Amosson is “fishing”? Are people not allowed vacations anymore?

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      I simply reported that Mr. Amosson was absent and fishing. Is that “big emphasis?” Get real. Second, it is your opinion that I was somehow “combative, rude and confrontational” but I’m confident the video proves otherwise.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

        So a simple “amosson was absent” wouldn’t suffice? And the video is exactly what I watched to hear your rude and combative line of questions. Get real. You sound like you have a very large chip on your shoulder.

        • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

          September 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm

          If you want that kind of news, where everyone plays nice and pertinent information is left out of stories, head over to the Globe.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Do they think they,re Col. Jesup in a few good men. I will answer but you have to ask me nicely!

    • really anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Mr. Amosson is being paid a good amount of money to attend these meetings. If fishing is more important, than he should step down.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm

        Really? Have you ever missed a day of work to take a vacation? It’s not like he’s just out fishing on Clear Lake, he is on vacation with his family. Do you never take family vacations?

      • MC Bystander Reply Report comment

        September 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm

        I think most of us have missed a day or two of work for vacation . I also think most of the people that take vacations work 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Do these guys put in those kind of hours for their elected jobs? I dont know, I’m asking. If not I would think they could plan their vacations around their 1 hour meetings that know one seems to know about. Me peronally, I hope Kyle K. and Chris W. get voted in this time around. It is time for a change and if you think so too you should get out and vote. Even if you like who is in, re-elect them. If you cant take the time to vote then you shouldn’t take the time to complain.

  18. Interested Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I say get rid of them all, we need some new blood in there. What are they hiding????

  19. phredd Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Which supervisor would be over clear lake? I would like to ask him some questions.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      Shame on you for not knowing that answer yourself. Whom did you vote for in the last election for supervisor?

      • JWF Reply Report comment

        September 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm

        Shame on you Anonymous, maybe this person did not live in Clear Lake during the last election. I believe it is Bob Amosson in Clear Lake.

  20. LVS Reply Report comment

    September 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Hey Matt-Do you get the feeling they really don’t want to talk to you or answer your questions. Supervisors who don”t want to talk to the media shouldn’t be supervisors.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      September 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      LVS: The Supervisors were annoyed since the first day I showed up with my camera, 2 years ago. I just sit there and film and usually say nothing but “hello” to them. I will continue to attend the meetings and perhaps I will speak up more often moving forward.