Osky Water Backs Board Member

Oskaloosa Water Board Trustees listen to Richard Malm about the options the board can take in regards to a letter removing a member of their board.

Oskaloosa Water Board Trustees listen to Richard Malm about the options the board can take in regards to a letter removing a member of their board.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Oskaloosa Water Board and the Oskaloosa City Council have been at odds in recent months, and a recent letter by Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt highlighted the growing rift between the two entities.

On Monday night, Errin Keltner, a current Oskaloosa Municipal Water Board of Trustee Member will have a hearing at the Oskaloosa City Council to discuss that letter in which Krutzfeldt called for Keltner’s removal. In the letter, Krutzfeldt states his basis for the removal, “My decision to order your removal from service is based upon the lack of communication and cooperation we had in trying to make our operations more efficient and effective. This, coupled with the budgeted multi-year water rate increases, leads me to believe a change in the Water Board is necessary.”

In an earlier interview, Water Board Trustee Chairman Pete Settimi said, “In an effort to be independent and to continue doing the job we’re doing, I think it’s important, number one, to consider retention of legal counsel.”

Keltner was nominated to the board by Mayor Krutzfeldt in July of 2012, and the Oskaloosa City Council then confirmed him to that position.

Krutzfeldt in an earlier discussion on the topic said, “We appoint them, we are also able to take them off,” said Krutzfeldt. “The responsibility for an appointment doesn’t end as soon as you make that appointment. So one of my responsibilities, I take seriously, is to watch how the appointments are doing their job on the various boards and commissions.” You can read the earlier article HERE.

This past week, the Oskaloosa Water Board passed a resolution in support of Keltner.

Resolution #1402 reads as follows:

WHEREAS, the Oskaloosa Municipal Water Department (“Water Department”) is an independent city utility established under Iowa Code Chapter 388 pursuant to a city election held in 1922;

WHEREAS, the Water Department Board of Trustees (the “Board”) has sole authority to manage, control, and operate the water work utility system of the Water Department;

WHERAS, Errin Keltner is a duly appointed and acting Trustee of the Board;

WHERAS, Errin Keltner has received an order dated March 5, 2014 from Oskaloosa’s Mayor Krutzfeldt to remove Errin as a Trustee of the Board under Section 372.15 of the Iowa Code;

WHERAS, Errin Keltner is not subject to removal because (1) he is not a “city officer” within the meaning of Section 372.15 of the Iowa Code; and (2) removal of a Trustee of a municipal utility under Iowa Code Section §372.15 would be inconsistent with Chapter 388′,

WHEREAS, Errin Keltner has protested and disputed the power and jurisdiction of the Mayor and City Council to remove him as Trustee of the Board and has requested a public hearing at City Hall on April 21, 2014 at 6 pm;

WHEREAS, the Board supports Errin’s protest because the independence of the water utility is clearly established by Iowa law and is key to the production of safe drinking water and an efficiently operated utility;

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the Board objects to Mayor Krutzfeldt’s authority to remove an independent, duly appointed, and acting Trustee of the water utility;

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board supports Errin Keltner’s protest of his removal because he is not subject to removal under §372.l 5 of the Iowa Code .

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board hereby directs counsel Richard A. Malm and Colleen R. MacRac to state the objection of the Board and Water Department to the Mayor and City Council as a part of the record of the above described proceeding.

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