When Elected Officials Betray Their Office
By Mari Radtke
The June 19, 2023 Paullina City Council meeting can be viewed online from our website www.belltimescourier.com or on www.paullinaiowa.com. This meeting started with chaos and ended with belligerent chaos. The action to be taken on four agenda items was changed. One item was added. Two items were removed. Out of the twenty two item agenda, six were consent type items, one was reports, one was adjourn, two were for open comments from public and council. After all the adjustments were made to the posted, tentative agenda, fewer than half remained for action to be taken. Out of those nine items needing a decision, three were tabled. Two of the three tabled items were appointments to two different TCA boards, an at-large regular board of directors and, once again the programming board. The at-large board representation rotates among the four communities of TCA. The term is up and it is Paullina’s turn to fill it. It is unknown when city officials were notified about the appointment, but there were no nominations. Council was caught completely off-guard for the appointment with no options presented. The programming board is currently and has been filled by John Ihle for 4 years. In February of this year, Ihle’s appointment was undone. The action was done under the guise of Ihle’s meeting attendance. Wonder of wonders, Mayor Brenda Ebel Kruse had a councilperson volunteer to attend the as-needed meetings, Jay Jones. Not having good, or even real information for that matter, council voted to approve the reappointment. This was done without notice, without any opportunity for other interested parties to take the seat. It was a very subversive, underhanded act. Thank goodness the barely quorum council reversed their decision at the next council meeting, restoring Ihle to the TCA Programming Board. His current term is up July 1, 2023. It is no surprise to anyone that Jones wants the seat. Based on Jones words at the June 19 meeting this is all about Ihle selling the domain name, www.paullinaiowa.com to another private entity, Marcus News, Inc. Jones denies it though. Ihle made statements on June 19 defending and promoting his record and performance on the board. He is the current chair. Jones, when he should have been talking about what he proposes as his contribution to the TCA Programming Board instead questioned Ihle’s character, calling him a liar specifically for selling his private asset to a willing buyer. Instead of engaging in a long night of childish tit-for-tat, and with no candidate for the at-large position, council opted to table both agenda items until the next meeting.
Another of the few items that got a decision on June 19 was the adoption of a resolution to adopt two official web domains for the City of Paullina; cityofpaullina.com and paullinaiowa.gov. Included in the resolution unanimously passed by council states, “All other sites are unofficial and must be discontinued immediately”. Good luck with that.
Jones was in rare form that Monday evening. After adjournment, Jones approached reporter Mari Radtke inside the council chambers about that resolution. It’s not clear what he intended to do. Outside, Jones had Ihle positioned in a place and way that made an already mobility-challenged Ihle completely immobile. Ihle was clearly getting in to his vehicle when Jones positioned himself in a way that prevented Ihle from moving in any way. Radtke shouted out to Jones if he was Òbullying or harassing?Ó That was enough distraction to cause Jones to move enough for Ihle to get into his vehicle. Jones launched into his predictable tirade of childish insults.
When that act didn’t get a rise from Radtke, Jones got into his vehicle and chased her down the street pulling over in the 100 block of South Main near where Radtke was walking. There he launched into what could be considered a threat to cause embarrassment. Jones, during the meeting, remarked about the attorney’s bill and blamed a person for it. On Main Street, Jones blamed Radtke for the bill and said he was going to say so at the next meeting.
When Jones was told those bills were for legal fees for representation with Iowa Public Information Board he quickly sped away. What might have upset him enough to finally make him go away was telling him the case is not closed. A police report to Paullina Police Department was made immediately.
At this time, council is considering Jay Jones to represent this city as a board member to a multi-community board. This man has demonstrated that he is not fit to represent the City of Paullina. His decision-making comes from his desire for retaliation. His temperament is way too immature. It’s not known who might be found to serve as a TCA board member, but one thing is clear: Jay Jones should not be considered.