Panel determines Scott County Supervisor seat vacant, Maxwell appealing

The panel voted 2-1 on party lines that Supervisor John Maxwell vacated his seat after being re-elected to the North Scott School Board in 2019.
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 3:49 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2021 at 12:51 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A Scott County panel determined a vacancy exists on the Board of Supervisors.

The panel voted Wednesday 2-1 on party lines that Supervisor John Maxwell vacated his seat after being re-elected to the North Scott School Board in 2019. County Recorder Rita Vargas and county Auditor Roxanna Moritz both voted yes. County Treasurer Mike Fennelly, a Republican, voted no.

The Scott County attorney’s office was advised of a potential conflict of Maxwell serving on the North Scott School Board and Scott County Board of Supervisors because both require membership on the Davenport City Conference Board, which oversees the city assessor. The panel had to determine if they believe holding both positions is incompatible and Maxwell automatically vacated his seat on the board of supervisors.

But at the hearing Wednesday, the county attorney’s office said the issue was resolved because a line was included in the state’s new election law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last week. The line allows for Maxwell to waive one of the memberships on the conference board.

Although the law was changed when the bill was signed March 8 and Maxwell was re-elected to the North Scott School Board in 2019, it’s the opinion of the county attorney and Iowa Attorney General the law is retroactive.

“Gov. Reynolds signed into law a section that would render this question moot,” Assistant Scott County Attorney Robert Cusack said, “Therefore it is the position of the Scott County Attorney’s office that there exists no vacancy on the Scott County Board of Supervisors.”

Ultimately two members on the panel, both democrats, weren’t convinced and Maxwell’s position was declared vacant.

“The facts to me are not disputable. I believe we should be looking at chapter 69.2 as I said before. I think the position was vacated when he took the second position,” County Auditor Roxanna Moritz said, “In the language that was cited in the Senate File, there is no documentation. Clearly they could have put for us if they wanted to retroactive to a certain date. They chose not to.”

Maxwell’s attorney, Alan Ostergren said he is appealing the decision. Maxwell will post bond and can continue to serve in both positions until the county court makes a decision.

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