Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 22, 2014

Council access draws controversy

By Xiomara Levsen | Jun 25, 2013

RIVERSIDE—A work session was held at Riverside’s city hall on Monday evening.
The work session began with Riverside city administrator Rusty Rogerson telling the council members they didn’t have any more access to information than a private citizen did. He referred to an event that took place on Friday, June 21.
“Chris walked in here on Friday into the office, opened up a file cabinet and took a file,” Rogerson said. “If another citizen would have done that I would have had them arrested. This is just not the way it works.”
“That’s not correct,” said councilor Chris Kirkwood.
“Oh, yes, ma’am, it is,” Rogerson said.
“That’s not correct,” Kirkwood said again. “There was an employee in the office and I asked before I did anything.”
Rogerson said Kirkwood should have never opened the file cabinet.
“The last time that I came and looked at the bank statements Lory [Young] said, ‘Here’s where I keep them, right here,’” Kirkwood said. “I just assumed when she told me that, that if you need to get that one of if you need to get one, go ahead. I made a mistake, obviously, and she corrected me on that and I live with that. It won’t happen again.”
Rogerson brought up again how the council doesn’t have any more access to the information than a private citizen. He said Pat Callahan has told the council this on several occasions. The council also has been told to make their requests to Young and him through using the windows in the lobby of city hall. Rogerson wouldn’t say whom but said he was encouraged to contact the county attorney and the sheriff after the incident on Friday.
“If that were the case, I would have expected to heard it on the first go around, and I didn’t,” Kirkwood said. “Like I said, I made an assumption and it was the same as the first time. I don’t know what else I can do.”
Young said Kirkwood didn’t make an assumption the first time but asked for the information from her.
“I’m going give you the advice you gave me on Friday,” Rogerson said. “Get over it and move on. I’m ready to go.”
After this discussion the council went through the items on the work session agenda.
The first item was identifying what neighborhoods to include in the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICG) application for grant funds for home rehabilitation. The council decided to have this added to the next council as a resolution identifying the neighborhoods.
Another topic discussed was how to approach the city’s problem with vehicles that haven’t been moved in 30 days or are considered abandoned.
“Requirements are basically that they have to be operable, they have to be currently licensed and registered, and they have to be moved every 30 days,” Rogerson said.
There are several unlicensed vehicles in the city that are sitting at residences and businesses in town, Rogerson said. A reminder letter will be sent out with next month’s water bill about Riverside’s vehicle ordinance.
Other items covered at the work session included:
• what rollovers were from the 2012-13 fiscal year to the 2013-14 fiscal year in the city’s budget and how to make it easier to define them;
• the needed clarification of employees vacation rollover. Rogerson said he thought vacation time went from an employee’s hire date to the end of the year. Someone told Rogerson they thought it was only until June 30, which means several city employees would lose accrued vacation hours. He said the council needed to address this issue as soon as possible. It will be on the next council meetings agenda.
The next meeting will be a regular city council meeting on July 1.

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