County assessor reappointed
Feb 24, 2009 at 12:01 AM Feb 24, 2009 at 4:22 PM
Karen Berry will be the Fremont County Assessor for another six years.
The Conference Board had voted to table her reappointment until September at their January meeting. However, after meeting in a closed session for about 35 minutes on Feb. 18 to discuss personnel issues, the board voted to take the issue off of the table then voted for the reappointment.
Karen Berry will be the Fremont County Assessor for another six years. The Conference Board had voted to table her reappointment until September at their January meeting. However, after meeting in a closed session for about 35 minutes on Feb. 18 to discuss personnel issues, the board voted to take the issue off of the table then voted for the reappointment. The conference board is comprised of the board of supervisors, the county’s mayors and the county’s school boards — there is one vote per group. For each of the votes (to take the issue off of the table and to reappoint), the county supervisors voted “nay” and both of the other groups voted “aye.” A second issue from the Jan. 28 meeting that was re-addressed concerns the reappointment of Cory Gordon to the Fremont County Board of Review. At the January meeting, in an unusual vote of 1.5 to 1.5, her reappointment was voted down. The half votes came as only two representatives from the area school boards were in attendance — Hilary Christiansen of Hamburg and Heidi Lowthorp of Sidney — and their vote was split. On Feb. 18 the reappointment was back on the agenda. Berry said she had reviewed the “Conference Board Guidelines,” which was printed in 1995 and discovered that what had happened is described as a “deadlock.” The handout reads,”In the event of a tie vote of one unit and the other two units have opposite votes, the result would be a deadlock. Should this be a matter that was imperative for a decision to be made, another vote should be taken. Should the result remain a deadlock, the chairperson would call another meeting and efforts should be made to have all conference board members attend the meeting.” Berry said a new vote should be taken to decide the issue, however there was opposition. Supervisor Cara Marker-Morgan said she had contacted David Vestal, the attorney for the Iowa State Association of Counties and was told that the vote failed. “He said for the motion to carry, it needed more than half of the votes, which it did not receive,” she said. Fremont County Attorney Margaret Johnson agreed and cited the same statute — statute 441.2 of the Iowa Code. It reads, “each unit having a single vote and no action shall be valid except by the vote of not less than two out of the three units. The majority vote of the members present of each unit shall determine the vote of the unit.” Due to the confusion in procedure between the two sources, the conference board voted to postpone the matter indefinitely — until Vestal could be contacted and better appraised of the situation and give his opinion. “I’d feel better about it if we had some more information,” said Sidney Mayor Doug Hobbie. The Conference Board also voted to adopt the Assessor’s budget after a public hearing. It passed with a vote of 2-1, with the Board of Supervisors opposing the budget. They set a meeting date of Feb. 25 at 4:30 p.m. to re-address the appointment of Cory Gordon.