The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

July 16, 2014

Civil case focuses on Oskaloosa Water Board

OSKALOOSA — Counsel for the Oskaloosa Municipal Water Board and the city of Oskaloosa presented their arguments Tuesday morning in Mahaska County District court in the civil case concerning the removal of Water Board Trustee Errin Keltner.

The Oskaloosa City Council voted to remove Keltner from office in late April. Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt sent Keltner a letter in March informing him that he would be removed from office due to a lack of communication between Keltner and the city council.

Keltner and the Water Department Board are taking civil court action to reverse the city's action.

Keltner's attorney Richard Malm argued in court Tuesday that Keltner is not a city officer.

“The Oskaloosa Municipal Water Department is independent,” he said. “Its trustees are not city officers.”

Malm argued that the mayor overstepped his bounds by removing Keltner.

Amy Beattie, counsel for the city of Oskaloosa in the case, argued that the Water Department Board of Trustees is not 100 percent independent. She said the board administers the Water Department budget and can spend money to hire an attorney for court cases. However, Iowa Code 372 gives the mayor the power to remove a board member, she said.

City counsel Maria Brownlee added that the city owns the Water Department while the department has the power to manage itself.

Judge Joel Yates said that counsel for both sides must submit their arguments and supporting documentation to him by Friday. Yates said he will review the files and render a judgement as soon as possible.

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