Second lawsuit in Iowa County
Following the continuing battle over the new Health and Human Services building in Iowa County, the MacIver News Service reports on a second lawsuit filed.
Already the subject of one lawsuit, a new grassroots organization filed another civil suit this past Friday. The new suit alleges Board Chairman Mark Masters surrendered his post on the Board after serving as acting County Administrator for more than 15 days last fall, thus making him ineligible to cast the deciding votes to authorize the construction and financing of the Health and Human Services building in October.
Eric O’Keefe, head of the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Iowa County (CCIC), calls the new building a “palace for government” and “a monument to the Supervisors’ time on the Board.”
The new lawsuit alleges that Board Chairman Mark Masters was appointed “to the interim position of County Administrator” on August 18, 2009 and, having served in that position for more than 15 days, was therefore no longer a member of the full County Board when he led the October 20, 2009 Board meeting and cast the deciding vote to approve the financing and construction of the $6.1 million dollar building. The measure passed with 11 yes votes (including Masters’) and 10 no votes.
According to CCIC’s court filing, State Statutes provide that when a County Board member is appointed acting county administrator his/her status as a Board member terminates. The only exception to the law is when the Administrator is appointed for a temporary time period “of up to 15 days.”
Mr. Masters, however, was initially appointed by the Iowa County board as acting County Administrator on August 18, 2009 ”for a period not to exceed more than 30 days.”
“We have filed suit and are asking for a preliminary injunction prohibiting any further construction of the building, any further expenditures and the closing of the bond sale,” said Mike Dean, attorney for the First Freedoms Foundation which filed the suit for the newly-formed Concerned Citizens of Iowa County.
Tuesday’s election could go a long way to resolve this issue.