Iowa Civil Rights Commission
211 E. Maple, 2nd Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Commissionerís Meeting
April 20, 2001
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM



Roll Call
The Commissionersí Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission was brought to order by Robert Smith, Chairman. Present were David Leshtz, Alicia Claypool, and Robert Smith via ICN. Flora Lee arrived later during the meeting. Also present were Corlis Moody, Executive Director, Ron Pothast, Business Administrator, Tom Good, Trainer and ICN Technician, and Araceli Goode, Executive Secretary. Not present were Mohamad Khan due to illness, Jack Morlan and Rachel Scherle.

Approval of Minutes
A motion to approve the March 30, 2001 Commissionersí Meeting was made by David Leshtz and seconded by Alicia Claypool. The Chairman stated the Commissioners were not able to vote as there was no quorum but would state for the record the minutes were reviewed and would have been approved by all present. The minutes were approved once Flora Lee was present and was asked if she had reviewed and approved the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissionersí Report
Robert Smith - Menís Community Conference was a great success and hope to continue to move forward with some of the things the community families talked about.
Alicia Claypool - Wanted to say thanks and farewell to the outgoing commissioners. Then updated the Commissioners on the English Only Legislation. The Bill came out of committee severely amended, effectively gutting the bill. She handed out copies of the Action Alert English Only - Not Dead Yet! The Coalition is trying to get the Legislatures to approve the report from the committee, which essentially guts the anti-English only bill, but defeat it on the floor. This would kill the King version of the English Only Bill. She encouraged people to contact their legislators. Noted that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission was listed as one of the sponsors to defeat this bill. Even if the bill is defeated, the Coalition expects that it will come back next year and will continue to investigate other English Only Laws in other states in order to be prepared for whatever is presented in the next session. It is not over and done with.
David Leshtz - Reported had attended the White Privilege Conference at Mt. Vernon Cornell College. Indicated this was an example of the type of events that should be considered for co-sponsoring. Presented a flyer on the Annual Iowa Civil Liberties Union Dinner in Iowa City, May 5, 2001 with Don Nickerson as speaker. Everyone is welcome, member, or not, of the Union.
Flora Lee - Reported had attended the White Privilege Conference and hoped that all Commissioners would attend in the future. Wished everyone the best and commended everyone for their efforts in working in civil rights.

Executive Directorís Report
Informed the Commissioners that Rick Autry, AAG, was filing his brief for the appeal to the Blackford case that day. The case was appealed and would go to District Court May 13th. Explained the budget cuts would not result in layoffs in the agency. Instead other ways to cut costs without damaging people were being researched. Reported the Mediation effort was really working. The unit was closing cases with face to face meetings quite readily and was closing them with a good value attached to the activity occurring. It was too soon to say it was definitely a success, but it certainly appeared to be. She opened the discussion on the idea of having a similar retreat as previous year for the new commissioners coming on-board. The following issues were proposed for the Commissioners to consider: (1). Commission overview - Goals, Mission, Vision, Organizational chart, Agency Process, Departments Process, Agency (2) Legislature Overview - Civil Rights Act, History of Civil Rights, Administrative Rules (3) Commissioners (4) and Administrative responsibilities. After discussion, other issues added were update on current legislative issues, state and national; and some perspective on numbers of cases/ comparative numbers.

In response to the question, explained that the criterion to consider the Mediation program as successful was the number of cases that were being settled and the amounts of the settlements. Tom Good explained how the agency used information within the agencyís records to check for reoccurring incidents with same respondents. Clarified that the information was not included within the complaint being reviewed, but was a tool for the screeners and investigators.

A question asked regarding if the commissionersí had a role in dealing with staff not performing to expectations. Corlis stated she would research this, but thought they did not have a role as the employees were state employees. However, a complaint from a Commissioner was not taken lightly, and was addressed promptly and remedied. The Commissioners input was appreciated and she felt that their role was to keep the Executive Director abreast of any problems they were aware of.

Corlis brought to the Commissionersí attention the letter sent to the Department of Education in support of the pertinent anti-discrimination provisions in Chapter 12 of the Department of Education rules.

Explained the process for the Blackford case after the Commissioners requested clarification. After the Commissioners had made their decision, Caseyís had the right to appeal that decision, which they did. Part of their appeal was that they do not agree with the Commissionís decision and wanted it overturned. The ultimate decision making body would be the Supreme Court and they expected to go there because regardless of who won at the District Court, the other party would appeal. Rick would be defending the appeal and had been working compiling his brief. Mr. Goldman, the complainantís attorney would also be there, but Rick would be doing the talking. The length of time till this would be resolved was not known.

Araceli Goode, Executive Secretary, presented clarification regarding the Compliance Report. Corlis informed the Commissioners that the Commissionís Annual Report was available on-line per the ICRC web page and its readiness to be used.

Next Meeting
May 18, 2001at the Historical Building if possible. This will be a Retreat for the Commissioners and not Commissioners meeting.

Adjournment
The Chair adjourned the meeting.



Submitted by Araceli Goode, Executive Secretary