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|3/20/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
|CCASWA meeting canceled after member leaves, deputy arrives|
By Jeremy Huss
A highly unusual meeting of the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency (CCASWA) was over before it could officially begin and raised more questions than answers Thursday night, March 14.
The meeting never was called to order due to a lack of a quorum after Clinton representative Jennifer Graf left shortly before the scheduled 6:30 p.m. start time, and CCASWA director Brad Seward said he was unable to explain her sudden exit.
Seward also had no explanation for the presence of a Clinton County deputy sheriff who arrived after Graf's departure, other than to acknowledge the deputy was there at the request of the solid waste agency. There has been no law enforcement presence at any other CCASWA meeting in recent history.
There also was a larger-than-usual audience for the failed meeting, with six people present in addition to landfill operator Brock Swan and engineering consultant CJ Lage.
Before beginning a roll-call vote of those present, Seward received a phone call from Clinton mayor Mark Vulich and then told the board Clinton would be unable to send an alternate representative to replace Graf.
After noting the Clinton representative was absent, Seward reminded board members CCASWA does not have a quorum without the 27 votes held by the city, so the meeting could not be called to order.
Voting representation at CCASWA is based on population. Thirty-six votes are needed to establish a quorum. Clinton County holds nine votes, DeWitt holds six votes and Camanche holds five votes, with the remaining 11 members having one vote each. Without Clinton's representative, the remaining members have just 31 votes among them.
After the announcement no business could be conducted due to the lack of a quorum, board members and visitors began exiting the building. There was no discussion of when the meeting might be rescheduled.
Seward and CCASWA chairman Dave Richards said they don't know why Graf left. Seward said he "heard something" as she left, while Richards said it was "nothing that makes sense."
Pressed on the question, Seward said he heard Graf say something to the effect of, "I don't need to be here," as she walked out.
A message left by The Observer with a man at Graf's home phone number was not returned.
Seward said he was unable to comment on why a police presence was requested for the meeting.
"I can't really comment on what it's about. There are limitations on certain things," Seward said.
He would not specify if the request for law enforcement was related to a personnel matter or another issue, nor would he explain why he was unable to comment about it.
Iowa's open meetings and open records laws provide only a limited number of reasons under which a government body can keep information confidential, including for reasons related to disclosure of security procedures. Seward said the issue at hand did not relate to security.
Seward said he's frustrated the meeting could not go forward, as the board of directors was scheduled to approve its annual financial assurance proposal in order to meet an Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) deadline of April 1.
Also on the agenda was discussion and action on the future of the bioreactor, and a plan for the bioreactor also is due to the DNR April 1. Extensions will be requested for both submittals.
Other agenda items included service proposals from engineering consultant firm Barker Lemar and Seward's regular monthly update of CCASWA activities.
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