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HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The purposes of the Human Rights Commission is:

To secure for all individuals within the city freedom from discrimination in connection with employment, public accommodation, housing, education and credit; and thereby to protect the personal dignity of these individuals, to ensure their full productive capacities, to preserve the public safety, health and general welfare, and to promote the interests, rights and privileges of individual citizens within the city;

To provide for the execution within the city of the policies embodied in the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 and in the Federal Civil Rights Act and to promote cooperation between the city and the state and federal agencies enforcing these acts; and

To provide, at the local level, a Commission on Human Rights, dedicated to the following: effective enforcement of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, service as a source of information to employers, laborers, business persons, employees, tenants and other citizens relative to various civil rights legislation and regulations; and active assistance to prevent and eliminate the effect of discriminatory practices.

Pursuant to the Iowa Code § 380.10, and after published notice and public hearing, as required by law, the Iowa Code Chapter 216 entitled the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 is hereby adopted by reference in its entirety.

There is hereby established in the city government a Commission to be known as the Human Rights Commission, which Commission shall consist of seven members broadly representative of the community. Members of the Commission are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. Each member is appointed for a term of six years. The terms of the members shall be staggered with each term of office to expire on September 30. Vacancies shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term. The Commission shall elect a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from the members of the Commission. Any four members constitute a quorum. All members of the Commission serve without compensation, but are reimbursed for travel and other necessary expenses out of the funds appropriated for the Commission.

The Commission shall administer the Iowa Civil Rights Act as contained in the Iowa Code Chapter 216, and amendments thereto and shall have, exercise and perform all applicable powers and duties as provided thereby and the following:

  • Establish rules to govern, expedite and effectuate the procedures of the Civil Rights Act and its own actions thereunder;
  • Appoint and prescribe the duties of employees as the Commission deems necessary for the enforcement of this subchapter, subject to the funds appropriated by the Council for that purpose;
  • Issue publications and reports of investigations and research as in the judgment of the Commission tend to promote good will among the various racial, religious and ethnic groups within the city and which tend to minimize or eliminate discrimination in public accommodations, employment, apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs, vocational schools or housing, because of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability or ancestry;
  • Prepare and transmit to the Mayor and to the Council from time to time, but not less than once each year, reports describing its proceedings investigations, hearings conducted and the outcome thereof, decisions rendered and the other work performed by the Commission;
  • Make recommendations to the Mayor and Council for further legislation as may be necessary and desirable, and adopt, publish, amend and rescind regulations consistent with and necessary for the enforcement of this subchapter;
  • Enter into contracts with federal and state civil rights agencies which would further the purposes of this subchapter;
  • Hold meetings at intervals of not less than one per month at a time and place to be determined by the Commission;
  • Establish and administer a positive affirmative action plan for the city, and administer any fair housing programs as are necessitated by federal and state regulations;
  • Assist all city contracting authorities in preparing equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination provisions for contract specifications and advise them as to the compliance records of prospective contractors; and
  • Require that all city agencies, boards and commissions forward to the agency all equal opportunity documents for review and evaluation prior to their submission thereof to any state or federal agency.

 All records of the Commission shall be public, except:

  • Complaints of discrimination, reports of investigations, statements and other documents or records obtained in investigation of any charge shall be closed records, unless public hearing is scheduled or District Court action is commenced as provided in this subchapter;
  • The minutes of any session which is closed under the provisions of this subchapter shall be closed records; and
  • No member of the Commission or of its staff shall disclose the filing of a complaint, the information gathered during the investigation, or the endeavors to eliminate discriminatory or unfair practice by conference, conciliation or persuasion, unless disclosure is made in connection with the conduct of an investigation or after public hearing is scheduled or district court action is commenced upon a complaint filed as provided in this subchapter. This section does not prevent any complainant, respondent, witness or other persons from publicizing the filing of a complaint or the matter therein complained of. Any violation of this section is punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.