Updated: Apr 9
MOUND CITY – There needs to be a central depository that is a historical record of all resolutions approved by the Linn County Commission. That was the suggestion made by Linn County Sheriff Kevin Friend earlier this month in making the case for creating the depository.
At the commission's March 14 meeting, Friend said that whenever he went looking for a resolution he felt like he was throwing County Clerk David Lamb under the bus because it was such a difficult task.
Friend explained that he had been looking for a resolution about what was legal to charge prisoners in the new Justice Center, and that it was difficult to find the information. Lamb did find the resolution, but it was approved back in 1989 and is still in effect.
Friend said he would like to see the county develop a central depository for the county’s laws.
“When I work with statute, we work with law books, right, because there are loads of them.” said Friend. ”But when I work with the county, as far as the law goes, it may have passed back in ’89 and it may still be in effect. But there is no where really to go look for that without calling the clerk and saying, ‘Hey, can you go through commission minutes for the last 33 years, because that is where it was.’”
Friend said that it seemed to him that it would be an advantage if, every time a resolution was passed, because that is the county’s law, that resolution would go somewhere where it could easily be found.
Commissioner Rick James suggested that the county could put resolutions and policy letters on the website.
Lamb said that the county could put stuff out wherever the county needs to, but the issue is more having them consolidated with some type of index so you can find things.
Currently, Lamb said, his office has copies of every resolution the county has done but, they are just resolution numbers. To actually search and go into records to find out what you are looking for is where you run into problems, he added.
Friend said the problem is that the community cannot access the resolutions. So if someone asks if there is a resolution about barking dogs, it is difficult to find out if that resolution exists.
To look at our county law is close to impossible, said Friend. He said that if he sends Lamb an email that says he is looking for a resolution that involves x, y or z, then Lamb has to go back and research through his data base.
Friend said that he did not care where it exists but it should be available for all of the public, because in his world, they have a popular saying, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” But if the public has no chance to read it or see it, there really is an excuse to have broken the law or the resolution.
Lamb explained that he did have a list of the resolutions but there was not an index by subject.