BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – A discussion on duck blinds at the county supervisor meeting on Tuesday morphed into an issue of how applications for the Lee County Conservation boardmembers get handled.
At the regular meeting of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, Rusty Robbins of West Point said his application from years back had never been considered by the board, because the board had never seen them.
“I’m t’d off about putting my application in several years ago and it never got to the board. Those applications need to come here. He (Lee County Conservation director Nathan Unsworth) can have some input but you guys need to see them, too. I think I’m a pretty responsible person to be able to make a decision for the whole system, not just a few people.”
After the meeting, Robbins said that he had turned his application into the conservation board and apparently the board then forwards the applications to the Lee County Auditor’s office, who then forwards them to the supervisors.
However, several supervisors indicated they are not getting the applications – that they just approve recommendations from the conservation board.
“We don’t see the applications anymore. We should,” said Supervisor Gary Folluo.
Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise, who’s on vacation and wasn’t at the meeting, sent an email to all supervisors and media following the meeting. Nikki Sugars, who works in the Auditor’s office, was filling in for Fraise at the meeting.
“The Board receives all applications submitted for independent boards in their weekly packet at the time when there is an opening,” Fraise wrote.
Folluo wrote in a return email to all the parties that he didn’t recall getting those applications..
“I don’t recall getting applications prior to when we vote on the recommendation of conservation. Since Ron (Fedler), Don (Hunold) and Matt (Pflug) have come on the board I don’t recall getting applications so we can review them? We may have gotten their recommendation and a runner up but I can’t place any others. I remember (sic) the conversation BOS had about letting conservation do interviews and make a recommendation to the BOS. I don’t know if we had a resolution but I remember agreeing to it.” Folluo wrote in the return.
Fraise sent a follow up email in which she wrote she has always sent the board the applications she has and there have never been more than one or two.
Robbins said that was part of the problem with how the board is picked.
“That’s why you don’t get in,” Robbins said. “They pick who they want on the board because they do not – and I’m going back to Tom Buckley – he did not want nobody in there that was going to buck the system and that’s not right to the public. It’s not right to the hunters.”
Folluo said he was going to have Lee County Attorney Clinton Boddicker look into the situation to see just what the Iowa code says about the board of supervisors’ role in appointing the conservation board members.
“Before this we took your recommendations and acted on it one way or another. I’ll have to get with the county attorney and sort it out. We always approved it but it was off a recommendation from the conservation board.”
Pflug agreed that the appointments were always off a recommendation.
“From the get-go we should be able to look at those applications and vote up or down, but before this we took your recommendations and voted yes or no,” Pflug said. “Basically we set their budget and once we set that budget for them it’s been hands off. All applications go to the auditor’s office. But you go through them,” Pflug said to Sylvester and Unsworth.
The Lee County Conservation Board is made up of five board members each serving five-year terms with a new board member appointed each year.