OSKALOOSA – The district court has ruled in favor of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors court case against the 911 Service Board/ Emergency Management Agency Commission.

District Court Judge Crystal Cronk of the Eighth Judicial District of Iowa ruled that the 2015 28E Agreement between the Mahaska County E911 Service Board and the Mahaska County EMA Commission is void and unenforceable. Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Groenendyk said Judge Cronk’s ruling doesn’t come at a surprise as a favorable ruling is what the Board was expecting.

“I guess I just expected it,” he said. “I mean we wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t know that we were right.”

The case was originally scheduled for a non-jury trial May 20, 2020, but the Board of Supervisors submitted a motion for Summary Judgment Aug. 2019.

A Summary Judgment is granted when both parties agree that the case is not an issue of fact, but a matter of whether or not something can be done by law. In this case, the County and the service board agreed on all the facts of this case.

The county argued that the approval of the 2015 28E agreement is illegitimate as illegal votes were cased when the agreement was originally formed on October 15, 2015.

Under Iowa Code, membership shifts from a township to a contractor when the contractor provides the public safety service for the township. At the time that the votes were casted, representation from the cities of Beacon, Leighton, University Park, Rose Hill, Keomah, Fremont and Eddyville were illegally allowed to vote on the agreement.

According to court ruling documents, Former E911 Administrator Randy Frazier sent an email to Chairperson of the Mahaska County E911 Service Board and former Mahaska County Supervisor Mark Doland on June 8, 2015, citing Chapter 34A as the reason for why the cities of Beacon, Leighton, University Park and Rose Hill were not allowed to vote.

Current Service Board Administrator Jamey Robinson was appointed administrator with the 2015 Agreement and testified that once he was appointed, he removed the improper members.

The court concluded that “the 2015 28E Agreement between the Mahaska County E911 Service Board and Mahaska County Emergency Management Commission is void and unenforceable.”

The Herald reached out to Robinson to find out what the next steps for the 911/EMA Service Board would be and he stated that closed session meeting would be scheduled for a later date. Robinson said he had no comment on the rulings of the case at this time.

The Mahaska County 911 Board had their final meeting of the year Dec. 12, where they approved the same bylaws 6-1. The one vote against the bylaws came from Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Groenendyk.

“I voted no on those proposed bylaws because I do not believe that they comport with the 1991, or the 1988, 911 agreement creating the service board or that they comport with the law.

Robinson’s thoughts on the lawsuit at that time was that the Board of Supervisors want control. Robinson didn’t want to go into further details about the case as he stated that there are several different pieces to it and, at that time, it was still an open case.

“We’ve always done what we’re supposed to do, with the Board of Supervisors, they basically want control,” he said. “There’s several different pieces and parts to this.”

Tiffany McDaniel can be reached by phone at (641) 660–9659, by email at tmcdaniel@oskyherald.com or on Twitter @tmcdaniel_osky.

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