Conservation district to update bylaws

Around the Area


MONTROSE – A committee has been formed to take a look at refreshing a set of bylaws that was recently turned over to the Lee County Conservation Board.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the board, District Director Nathan Unsworth said it would be a good thing to have functioning bylaws in place but recommended a committee be formed to go over the bylaws. The bylaws were presented to the board by West Point resident Rusty Robbins, who has been actively pursuing documents relating to the district’s operations since permanent duck blinds were banned on the district-owned property on the Mississippi River.

Unsworth said Lee County Attorney Clinton Boddicker couldn’t tell whether or not the bylaws were still valid, but said they are a good idea and need to be updated.

He said he couldn’t find any other more recent or past bylaws and can’t find any minutes of the bylaws being approved. The documents don’t show a voting approval on them.

“Last month we received some bylaws that were presented to the board and we’ve reviewed those a little bit,” Unsworth said. “I think they’re a good thing and other counties have bylaws that I’ve learned of after following up on these and doing some research. We need to look at these and make some changes to things that need updated,”

The bylaws that Robbins turned over to the board last month were from 1996 and said the bylaws needed to be reviewed each year.

“I know this question will come up but I cannot find a record of these being passed because we can’t find an official record of that. We are looking diligently but we are running out of places to look. These guys here said some files got ruined downstairs because of water,” he said.

He said Iowa code has changed and some of the bylaws as presented reflect that older code and would need to be updated.

“The county attorney said it’s easier to get them set the way we want them set and then have him take a look at them,” he said.

Board chair Harry Sylvester said he did see a couple things like expenditure rules and salary requirements that need to be updated.

“I saw but a couple three things in here. All the expenditures and stuff – all that is outdated the pay grades are obviously out of date.  Your pay grade – I don’t think you want to start back at $27,800,” he joked with Unsworth.

Unsworth said his research shows that other counties in the state do have bylaws and that outline the expenditures and pay structures better than the bylaws they were looking at.

The board also discussed future appointments to the district board. At Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Lee County Supervisors, the board took up an appointment to the board but tabled the appointment to further review applications. The board considered the appointment of one of three applications they received from County Auditor Denise Fraise.

Supervisor Gary Folluo told Fraise he thought the supervisors were to get all the applications and then make a recommendation from them, not a preselected list which had been the practice of the past.

“This is all there is,” Fraise said. “They don’t really come out of the woodwork to apply.”

Sylvester told the board that he hoped with the updated bylaws and with direction from the supervisors, the board could get processes for appointments cleaned up by next year.

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