CEDAR FALLS – A complaint filed in October by a longtime former board member to the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board, though ultimately fired, prompted Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green to remove the ‘Mayor’s Corner’ column of the future “Currents”, a news item financed by the city. publication.
The mayor was running for re-election for his second term at the time of the complaint and said in a communication with the former city official that he shared qualms about the column, calling it a “free quarterly political article “.
Green announced on Facebook last week that the Mayor’s Corner, which was not a new addition to the post, would be replaced with basic information about the seven city councilors, such as how to contact them.
Currents magazine – with each of its 16 to 20 pages being slightly larger than a standard 8-1 / 2 by 11-inch sheet of paper – is created and distributed to residents each season using thousands of taxpayer dollars.
The numbers are also available online.
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“Last month I learned that the ‘Mayor’s Corner’ was only added to Currents in 2016 and hadn’t been part of this newsletter for over 20 years,” Green wrote in his Facebook post. . “So, starting with this new winter edition of Currents, I asked that this area instead display useful information to identify and contact your local elected officials. The next (spring) edition will also contain a photo of each member and include their (and my) email addresses. Hope you find this useful! “
On October 1, Tom Hagarty, a former Ward 1 councilor for 12 years, filed a lawsuit against Green, alleging a violation of campaign ethics because the mayor was “in a good place” in the city. fall edition of Currents magazine just before November. .2 municipal elections.
In addition, the column is accompanied by an important head photo of the mayor.
“I believe this is a violation of election campaign laws in using taxpayer funds to campaign for the election,” Hagarty wrote in his complaint to the board. “No other candidate for mayor has won the same place in the city’s taxpayer-funded publications. “
Hagarty called the fall column “more of a campaign speech about his qualities as mayor” and supported then-mayoral candidate Tom Blanford in a letter published in The Courier.
Hagarty’s charges were dismissed by the State Council on Nov. 18 due to a “lack of legal sufficiency,” according to an email to Hagarty from Andrew Greenberg, an attorney for the council.
“Browsing through previous editions of Currents (dating back to 1991), I discovered that the Mayor’s Corner was an invention of the former mayor (Jim Brown) when he took office in 2016,” Green wrote in a November 16 e-mail to Hagarty. “I’ve never been a huge fan of this feature of Currents, as it felt like a free quarterly political article (whether it’s election season or not). I requested, in the future, that the space simply display small photos of city council members and the mayor with phone number and email address, so that residents can easily recognize us and reach us with questions and comments.
The IPC took the floor without $ 150,000 dedicated to the initiative for the coming fiscal year.
The “Mayor’s Corner” in the fall issue takes up just under half a page.
Green addresses the return of ‘wonderful’ cultural and neighborhood events in the summer during the COVID-19 era, and took space to stress that ‘so many aspects of Cedar Falls are worth celebrating’ , but stressed that “the neighborhood is the most important to me.”
“Buildings, streets and parks form a city, but people who care about each other form a community,” he wrote. “As mayor, I am honored to lead the city as we continually work to convey the importance of community; it will be our proud, lasting legacy to future generations at Cedar Falls.
Although not at the heart of the complaint, the column for the summer issue occupies a little over half a page and highlights five “important and avant-garde” projects: the complete reform of the zoning law , Cedar River Recreation Project, Town Hall Renovation. , Cedar Falls Resilience Study and National Night Out – ongoing that summer.
However, he credits the “forward-thinking city council and expert city staff,” in addition to the contribution of residents and others.