2024 Scott County Primary Election Candidate Questionnaires

2024 Scott County Primary Election Candidate Questionnaires

In keeping with the Reader's tradition during primary season, we are publishing a candidate questionnaire for each of the three Scott County offices on the ballot this election year. The following questions were emailed to the candidates below. The unedited responses will be published at the Reader's website May 8 through May 10, and then again in print on May 23, 2024, when the June Reader print edition hits the streets.

Scott County Board of Supervisors Candidates & Questions

Republican Party Candidates: Ken Beck (Incumbent), Jeff Bloemker, Jennifer McAndrew Lane, Thomas Nelson, Rita Rawson (Incumbent)  

Democrat Party Candidate: Maria Bribriesco

Question 1: Do you support the practice of select Supervisor private pre-meetings regarding Board agenda items with the County Administrator that are not publicly announced and not publicly accessible? If yes, why? If no, why not? Please be specific.

Beck: Yes.  I have been on the board of supervisors for over 7 years and selected by my peers to chair the board since 2021.  Based on my experience and the comments we hear from new supervisors, the County is a complex operation with a steep learning curve.   Communication is important to exchange ideas between staff and the supervisors, build rapport and to provide opportunities for supervisors to tap the knowledge of staff members who are professionals in their field.  This is a component in the research and education process supervisors do to understand the issue and to determine what is best for Scott County.  In the end all items are voted on and discussed in our public meetings.

Bloemker: Yes. Any management team needs to have the ability to discuss issues, ask questions, make suppositions, receive corrections, and generally gain understanding of issues without the pressure and judgement of external influences. To inhibit this ability is only inhibiting the capacity to think creatively and thoroughly to reach the best solution.  Initial research and and discovery by elected officials through staff should not be a spectator sport. There is an official time and place for that.  Elected officials are obligated to make their official positions and logic known at prescribed public meetings. 

McAndrew Lane: I do not support Private meetings unless it is for employee negotiations, personnel issues, and possibly to avoid a bidding war regarding real estate. In today's environment and lack of trust in governing bodies, we need to be more transparent. I would intend on tweeting out matters to the public that would definitely be of interest, i.e. intentions re: the CO2 pipeline or CASI funding. It broke my heart to listen to an entire room full of people; knowing the Board passed the budget the year prior.

Nelson: In interest of transparency, I support closed meetings only in event of Possible county purchase of specific property or discussion involving specific personnel.

Rawson: I am neutral on this topic.  I read the agenda and supporting documentation in its entirety.  The agenda review time is for me to ask questions from my study of the agenda and supporting documentation.  Having served 2 terms on city council, I am very familiar with these types of documents and, when I do have a question, it is usually related to the budget and I could just as easily call staff.

Question 2: If such meetings are proven or determined to be critical to the county government and its staff's efficient and timely functioning, do you support making such Supervisor meetings with management staff public along with agenda items and minutes, similar to the City of Davenport's practice? If yes, why? If no, why not? Please be specific.

Beck:  No.  Government is not a pure democracy but a representative republic.  Supervisors are elected to represent their constituents’ interest and decisions are made for what is best for the overall benefit of the county.  Although all agenda items are discussed in our open meetings, there are exceptions where some emerging items require confidentiality such as employee performance and pending legal action.

Bloemker: No. For the reason posited in the response to Question 1.

McAndrew Lane: I want as much transparency as possible.

Nelson:  All Supervisor meetings along with agendas and minutes should be public, barring instances in question 1

Rawson: I refer back to question #1.  The County staff does an excellent job in providing a comprehensive agenda packet which the public can view online. Items in the packet are discussed at Committee of the Whole, which is a public meeting.

Question 3: Under what circumstances, if at all, will you support Scott County enforcing medical intervention (masking, vaccines, boosters, etc.) mandates as a condition for employment within the County government? Please be specific.

Beck: No one can predict every possible circumstance that could occur in the future.  A good example is how anyone could have predicted the night of civil unrest in the Quad Cities after the George Floyd incident and the efforts it took to regain control.  In general, this condition of employment would only occur if mandated by state or federal law.

Bloemker: I will not support the enforcement of medical intervention as a general rule of governance. There may be specific health circumstances that do require employer engagement but those should be managed as isolated instances.

McAndrew Lane: Absolutely, Not!!!!  Citizens, and not government need to be involved in personal, medical matters.  I protested the the wearing of masks at the board meeting; discussing it.  There are no Constitutional grounds  for such imposition!  People should not have to choose between getting an experimental vaccine and supporting their family. 

Nelson: Under no circumstances will I support enforced masking, vaccines, boosters as condition of employment. I do support employees being sent home if exhibiting obvious symptoms.

Rawson: Only in the case of the Federal government and/or the CDC issuing a mandate to use a mask due to a pandemic, such as COVID, would I strongly encourage employees to participate.  I would not make a medical intervention a condition of employment and would seek out alternate solutions that would benefit all (such as working from home or having alternate shifts on site).

Question 4: What are the top two current standard practices by the Board of Supervisors that you would strive to change should you be elected in the General Election in November? And, likewise what are the top two current standard practices that you would strive to maintain should you join the Board in 2025? 

Beck: Practices change as the need arises as occurred during the pandemic.  If there were any current practices that needed to be changed, I would be working with the other supervisors to do so.

Bloemker: At a high level I believe the Scott County Board of Supervisors is doing a good job and I don't have any axes to grind or causes to take up.  I am fortunate in that I don't carry those biases into this role. I will judge the efficacy of policies and practices as we deploy them to do the people's work.  That being said, there has recently been light shed on issues regarding voter registration software and county official appointments that indicates "cooking," collusion, and dysfunction.  This behavior will be examined and put in check on my watch.

McAndrew Lane:  I want to run because I believe there is too much control by "Czars" over county matters. I am saddened to learn how much of a Deep State we have in Scott County.  Elected Officials need to do the jobs people elected them to do.  Chairman Beck and Treasurer Knobbe  have essentially appointed positions to be their lackeys.   The Auditor was hand-picked by Knobbe and Beck.  We were not allowed to know her name at first.  Then Knobbe, Tomkins, and Beck (from behind the scenes) selected the appointment of supervisor from an anonymous list; no less!   Citizens should not have to work that hard or spend thousands in legal fees just to have transparency! We are Civil Servants and not working for personal gain.  I believe we have a few board members who have forgotten that.   I would also want to have more involvement in department head meetings; there should be a Board Member there, and not an Administrator.  I would also promote office hours. I would like to see continued fiscal responsibility and recordings/web access of meetings. 

Nelson:  Things to change:  1. Use of Consent Items. I understand "streamling" procedures, but it becomes difficult for interested taxpayers to follow specific votes. 2.  Freedom of Information questions should be published on county website.
Things to keep. 1. County checkbook on website.  2. Video record of meetings Available on county website.

Rawson:  The County and Board are very well-run entities with high communication and transparency; at this point I cannot think of any specific items I would change.  County staff and Supervisors are focused on a balanced budget and delivering excellent service to the citizens of Scott County.

Question 5: In 2020, then County Auditor Moritz applied for and accepted grants from a private foundation funded by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's foundation under the auspices of providing safer elections during a pandemic. The practice was so controversial that lawsuits were filed in several Iowa counties and across other states trying to limit private funding of public elections. In June 2022, Iowa state government updated Iowa Code 49.17 restricting funding of public elections to only public funds. In August, 2022 the Scott County Board of Supervisors updated General Policy 30 “Grants and Funding Assistance” and due to Iowa Code 49.17's restriction on private funding of public elections did not include language in the policy restricting this practice at the county level. Should the Board of Supervisors further update Policy 30 to restrict private funding of all public county office and department functions, without Board approval? If yes why and if no, why not?  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/code/49.17.pdf.  30 Grants and Funding Assistance (183.3 KB)

Beck:  No.  Iowa Code 49.17 sufficiently covers the issue of restricting private funding of elections. Generally state and federal grants require board approval and signature of the chair.

Bloemker: At this juncture it would appear the blanket application of State Code 49.17 sets an appropriate tone and is sufficient in this matter until proven otherwise. 

McAndrew Lane: The Policy absolutely should be revised!  No private money should be involved in our elections!  People insisted the Board close that Loophole; and it did not do so.

Nelson: Policy 30 should be updated to restrict private funding of all county and department functions.  Board approval is irrelevant.

Rawson:  If the County code is not specific, State law would govern, which it would do in this scenario.  Policy 30 does not need to be updated as this is not an issue within the County as staff handles grants appropriately per current code and state law; and the Board of Supervisors does receive a quarterly report of grants, amounts, and status.

Scott County Auditor Candidates & Questions  

Republican Party Candidates: D. Mark Nelson, Kerri Tompkins (Incumbent)

Democrat Party Candidate: Matt Trimble 

Election Integrity 

Since 2020, one of the most legally contested rights, especially in “purple” counties where the Democrat or Republican party as the dominant player is not a foregone conclusion, has been public access to publicly funded and locally governed election system documentation – especially when the investigating party is “trusting, but verifying” elements for which the county auditor is ultimately responsible. 

Question 1: On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most open and 0 being the least open, what is your current stance on the following local voter registration and local election best practices? 

NOTE: If a best practice is in place currently, please score 11 and tell our readers how to best access the information. Also, additional comments up to 100 words per answer are welcome if you wish. 

A) Publish at the Auditor's site the Voter Pre-Registration and Absentee Ballot ledgers within two days of the May 20, 2024 deadline. https://elections.scottcountyiowa.gov/elections/info/primary_election_2024_06_04/

Nelson10, so long as state law permits such transparency, which it currently does not. I would work with our state legislators to help ensure Iowa's election laws eliminate opportunities for fraud. The Auditor does announce how many absentee ballots were issued prior to election day, and prudent election integrity would ensure that the final absentee count does not exceed those issued. 

TompkinsAs the current Scott County Auditor, I follow the law and will continue to do so if I am  elected for another term.

B) Publish at the Auditor's website the current Chain of Custody Policy for all voter registration, ballot procurement, ballot recording and counting equipment including peripherals and associated firmware and software currently in place and/or being implemented. 

Nelson10, so long as state law permits such transparency. There is no reason the public should not have access to the chain of custody policy around these election assets. 

TompkinsAs the current Scott County Auditor, I follow the law and will continue to do so if I am  elected for another term.

C) Maintaining hand written ink hard copy signature records for voter registration procedures and verification. 

Nelson10, so long as state law permits such activity. Currently state law does not provide authorization for “signature verification” while at the same time poll workers are currently trained on how to “compare” signatures to assist in voter identification. Regardless, all assets for each election cycle should be maintained in a secure fashion per the chain of custody policy, similar to how ballot retention requirements are met.

TompkinsAs the current Scott County Auditor, I follow the law and will continue to do so if I am  elected for another term.

D) Migrating to stylus digitized screen signatures without ink hard copy signature records for voter registration procedures and verification. 

Nelson10, if this migration means all functions of voter registration record keeping become all digital, which provides no analog backup when any controversy occurs. An all digital system for anything is an open invitation for hacking said system. 

TompkinsAs the current Scott County Auditor, I follow the law and will continue to do so if I am  elected for another term.

E) Create a secure backup duplicate record of the election results and all associated data that is eventually submitted to the Secretary of State. 

Nelson: 10 so long as state law permits this common sense approach to election security. If the secretary of state is not interested in having each Election Commissioner in each county (which is also the County Auditor) maintain secure backups of critical election data that can be cross-checked with the aggregated results, then there is a bigger problem that needs solved at the legislative level. Scott Countians require the evidence their vote is secure and counted accurately, every election cycle. If there are procedures that are currently not permitted by state code that would improve said accuracy and transparency, I will work with our legislators to make improvements.

TompkinsAs the current Scott County Auditor, I follow the law and will continue to do so if I am  elected for another term.

Private Funding of Public Elections 

Due in part to the controversial Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's foundation funded Center for Technical and Civic Life private grants given to counties such as Scott County in 2020 for over $400,000 for the purpose of safer elections during a pandemic, in June 2022, Iowa state government updated Iowa Code 49.17 restricting funding of public elections to only public funds. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/code/49.17.pdf

Question 2: Why do you agree or disagree with this new restriction implemented by state code? 

NelsonI agree with this state law because regardless of one's party affiliation, private funding of public elections is a major risk to undue influence that hinders and does not help the public's confidence in accurate election results. 

TompkinsI agree with the law and believe it is unethical to have private funds for a public election.

The County Government's Hub

The Iowa State Association of County Auditors states at their website: “The Institute of Public Affairs has labeled the Auditor’s Office as the “Hub of County Government.””

Beyond numerous election duties the County Auditor's responsibilities are diverse and critical in numerous ways to the business functions for all elected offices and their respective departments and staff.https://www.iowaauditors.org/about/auditors_responsibilities/

Question 3: What private business, not-for-profit organization, and/or government sector leadership experience do you have that best translates into enhancing efficiency and operations within the Auditor's office? 

NelsonI have worked in the private sector my entire life including owning the full service commercial real estate appraisal firm Roy R. Fisher since 2014, after working there for 22 years. I have achieved the highest professional designation (MAI) in the industry and have specialized in complex assignments focused on litigation support. Over the years I have established a reputation for fairness and accuracy, so much so that both private property owners and municipal governments hire us to research and assist with property tax litigation. I am often testifying under oath as an expert witness in matters ranging from local property tax disputes to federal bankruptcy cases. If elected, I would survey the work products and employment records of the leadership team inside the Auditor's office and encourage open dialog about enhancements those who work in the trenches every day would like to see that would benefit the tax payers in Scott County.

TompkinsI earned a Master in Social Work with a focus on administration from St. Ambrose University. -12 years in social work with 10 years in management (not-for-profit). -4 years as a human resources manager (private business) -6 years on Davenport City Council-served as Chair of Finance and Mayor Pro-Tem (government) -8 years as Business Manager (not-for-profit and private) -3 years as Scott County Auditor (government) This experience includes payroll and accounts payable (departments within the auditors office). 

Question 4: What are the top two current County Auditor's standard practices that you would strive to change should you be elected in the General Election in November? And, likewise what are the top two current standard practices that you would strive to maintain should you start serving as Auditor in 2025? 

Nelson:  Top current standard practices I would change:  1. Not following state law when it comes to soliciting bids for services and equipment for which the Auditor's office is responsible for.  2. Sizably and inefficiently increasing administrative expenses well in excess of inflation. 
Top current standard practices I would maintain: 1. Publicizing at the county website the checkbook, accounts payable, publicly paid for salaries, liquor licenses, etc.  2. Continuing to collaborate with Assessor office to ensure property and GIS records are secure, up to date and accessible with functional data for all users. 

Tompkins:  In regards to change, as the Scott County Auditor, it is my role to follow the law via guidance from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office and the Scott County Attorney’s Office. I will continue to do so and implement office procedures necessary as laws change.  However, I would continue the accounting practices within the office as they are instrumental in two areas to support Scott County. 1-Protect county assets from fraudulent expenditures. 2-Commitment to financial reporting, communication and transparency. Scott County received the Certificate of Achievement for the 36th year in a row and the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting for the seventh year in a row. Both awards are from the Government Finance Officers Association of the US and Canada (GFOA). Additionally, the County qualified as a “Triple Crown” winner based upon recognition for budgeting and financial reporting within the same fiscal year, 2022.

Scott County Sheriff Candidates & Questions 

Republican Party Candidates: Tim Lane (Incumbent), Chris Laye

Democrat Party Candidate: Thomas Gibbs, Gordon Morse

Personal Choice Regarding Potential Future Professed Health Crises 

Question 1: If local, state, or federal health officials decree that Americans must comply with mandatory vaccinations, would you support or oppose using the county sheriff's resources and personnel to enforce such a mandate?

GibbsAbsent the issuance of martial law, government authorities have limited ability to compel vaccinations. There are vaccinations required by law for schools and some professions, however, those usually achieve compliance through cooperation. I would only use resources to enforce compliance as defined by law.

Lane Unfortunately, as Sheriff I have already faced this possibility.  When Joe Biden ordered all workers to be vaccinated and that he was going to use the power of OSHA to make it happen through heavy fines, I was reassuring the employees of the Sheriff’s Office that they would not be required to take the vaccination.  I assured them that there would be no one fired or disciplined for refusing.  I also directed them to avoid any lotteries that Scott County Administration was putting on to trick them into giving up their confidential vaccination status.  At that time, the county was conducting lotteries where employees would send a copy of their vaccination card for a chance to win a gift certificate if their name was drawn.  This was nothing more than a way to identify unvaccinated employees and I brought it to the attention of the Scott County Board of supervisors and asked that they reel in the Assistant County Administrator who was behind it all.

LayeThe resources of the Sheriff’s Office are used to enforce criminal law, oversee jail operations and perform the civil process. These responsibilities are derived from legislative action developing and implementing laws and through the judicial process of court orders. The Sheriff’s Office bears no responsibility to other governmental agencies such as health departments to enforce their regulations. In January of 2022, the United States Supreme Court struck down an overreach of the Biden Administration attempting to enforce vaccine and mask mandates as unconstitutional. It is the Sheriff’s oath to uphold the Constitutions of the state and the country hence I would not use resources to enforce an unconstitutional action.

MorseI would not support the use of County Sheriff's Office resources or personnel to enforce a mandatory vaccination order. Though Iowa code 817.2 does allow the Governor or Attorney General to call for the Sheriff to render assistance in the enforcement of the law. This also allows those officials to render assistance from any peace officer in the state thus giving them the same powers throughout the state as the Sheriff of that county. This does call attention to Bill IA HF 243. This would require written permission from the Sheriff of the County before any arrest, search or seizure may be conducted within a county under the County Sheriff’s jurisdiction by any Federal Agent or out-of-state law enforcement officer or agent and any Iowa law enforcement officer or agent from outside the County Sheriff’s jurisdiction, establishing private right of action and making penalties applicable. If passed, any resources used by the Sheriff’s Office to enforce the order would be a seizure of the person. This in my opinion would make any enforcement the decision of the Sheriff in each county.

Question 2: If you do support a mandatory vaccination or biological test result for all or any specific segment of the American populace, for which Scott County citizens qualify, for any reason or under a specified health crisis, please share the source for such constitutional and/or administrative authority (e.g. county, state, federal) to enforce such a mandate, and please include under what type of order or directive (e.g. county board policy, state health department declaration, federal agency guideline) you would require in order to enforce any restrictions of citizens' lawful activities, commerce, education, or travel in Scott County, Iowa, who do not comply with said mandate. 

GibbsI do not support mandated vaccines or tests, though I personally believe in the importance of getting vaccinated. There are times when the resources of the Sheriff’s Office may be called upon to assist the Health Department. The Health Department has the authority to issue quarantine orders. Those orders are enforceable and non-compliance with isolation and quarantine orders have consequences. See Iowa Administrative Code 641.1.12.

Lane Such a mandate is not legal.

LayeI do not support mandatory vaccines or biological tests and believe every citizen has the right to choose which vaccines or testing they should submit themselves or their children to however; I would also say individuals should take responsible actions to protect themselves, their families and the public. If there is a vaccine or test which is for the better good of public health and they choose not to participate, then they should take appropriate action to ensure they do not place themselves or other members of the public at risk. The orders I would require to take enforcement action would be a legislative action signed into law by the Governor of Iowa, a court order from a Judge or an executive order by the Governor. This is why the Sheriff is elected by the people and not governed by a subdivision of state government such as a county board.

MorseAnswered in response to question #1.

Question 3: Under what circumstances would you utilize the County Sheriff's resources to enforce certain businesses must comply with so-called “lock-down” order to cease business operations due to not being designated an “essential business” by any government body?

GibbsIf you are asking about the COVID 19 pandemic “lock-down” orders, it would not be appropriate to enforce the closure of any business. However, there are circumstances in which law enforcement may have to deem an area inaccessible due to disaster proclamations resulting in businesses not being able to open, for example, the 2023 building collapse in Davenport, or during flood operations.

Lane Again, as Sheriff I faced that situation.  The state health department was wanting to cite a business that was in operation because the owner was not wearing a mask on site.  They showed me photos of the unmasked business owner which were taken covertly.  I told them that the Scott County Sheriff’s Office would have no part of it.  I then directed deputies not to participate if requested or to serve documents on any business on behalf of the State Health Agency.  I then asked them to support the business by having lunch there while on duty.

LayeAgain I would require a legislative action signed into law by the Governor of Iowa, a court order from a Judge or an executive order by the Governor to take enforcement action. While another agency within the state government may have different rules, regulations or laws which govern how they operate, the Office of the Sheriff performs its function through the criminal code thus the Constitutional considerations are different for the law enforcement profession as a long history of landmark court opinions have established case law which must be followed. Until a court at the state or federal level establishes a precedent where a law enforcement agency can lawfully perform a function within the parameters of the Constitution then no other agency has the authority to direct the Sheriff’s Office to take action on their behalf.

MorseThe only circumstances that would require the utilization of Sheriff’s Office resources would be a directive from the Governor, Attorney General, or the County Attorney to enforce the law. Iowa code 817.2

Governance & Authority 

Background: In the 1977 Printz-Mack v U.S. case, the Supreme Court ruled that the two Sheriffs petitioning the court had standing, and were constitutionally compliant in their refusal to enforce or administer a Federal directive. (RCReader.com/y/mack)

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the State's officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States' officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policymaking is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reversed.”

Question 4: What office comprises the chief law enforcement officer (LEO) in Scott County, and why? 

GibbsThe Scott County Attorney is the chief law enforcement officer in Scott County, followed by the Scott County Sheriff. Both are duly elected officials by the citizens of Scott County. The County Attorney’s duties and responsibilities are found in Iowa Code 331.756. They are ultimately responsible for enforcing or cause to be enforced in the county, violations of state law and county ordinances. The Sheriff has the authority to keep the peace or prevent the commitment of crime. Iowa Code 331.652.

Lane The chief law enforcement officer is the Sheriff.  There is a long history of constitutional law establishing that fact.

Laye The Office of the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of Scott County as the Sheriff is elected by the people to carry out the duties of the office as provided by the Constitutions of the county and the state. The first Sheriff was elected by the people in 1836 in what was known then as Dubuque County in the Wisconsin Territory which then became the Iowa Territory in 1838. Iowa was granted full statehood by the United States Congress in 1846 and continued to ensure each county had a Sheriff elected by the people to perform as the chief law enforcement officer for the county. The Office of Sheriff is not a department of county government. The internal operation of an Office of Sheriff is the sole responsibility of the elected Sheriff. County department heads are subordinate to a county governing body as the department is a division of the county government. The Office of Sheriff is a statutory/constitutional office having exclusive powers and authority under state law and/or state constitution and is not subordinate to the county governing body to maintain the ability to enforce the law equally without conflict of interest or coercion.

Morse This question can be addressed in 2 opinions. One argument is made under Iowa Code 331.652(2). This argument is used to establish the County Sheriff as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the County. This is also brought up in the discussion of HF243. The other opinion that is used by many County Attorney Offices and states this on web pages, the County Attorney is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer. Iowa Code 331.756 gives some insight. Duties of The County Attorney: Diligently enforce or cause to be enforced state laws and County Ordinances violations of which may be commenced or prosecuted in the name of the State, County, or County Attorney. Whatever the opinion, it takes a strong working relationship from both to succeed. 

Question 5: Given this 1997 Supreme Court decision, what agreements currently exist between the Scott County Sheriff's office and any of its vendors, suppliers, consultants, grantors, and/or state or federal agencies that waives, or suspends temporarily or in perpetuity, the County Sheriff's authority as a State officer upheld in Printz-Mack v U.S. cited above? (For example: conditions contained in “Certified Assurances” or requirements for obtaining a Homeland Security grant.

GibbsUntil elected Sheriff I do not know of what agreements currently exist between the Sheriff’s Office and any other entity. Certified Assurances are utilized for grant compliance as conditions set forth to receive funding. Funding should first be attempted through the Board of Supervisors and the budget process. If the Board of Supervisors doesn’t fund the request, grants are an option to achieve funding for the requested project/service. Those would have to be weighed against the need/want for the service/project and the assurances required through the grant program to determine acceptability.

Lane There are no contracts that waive or suspend the authority of the Scott County Sheriff.

LayeThis information is not readily accessible to all members of the Sheriff’s Office outside of the current administration and select other individuals.

MorseI do not have any knowledge of current agreements with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office and any of the listed entities. Any issues that suspend temporarily or in perpetuity, the County Sheriff’s authority as a State Officer in regards to receiving any Federal grants with conditions of “Certified Assurances” would have to be decided with a legal opinion of the County Attorney to determine what serves the best interest of the public.

Question 6: Under what circumstances, if any, would you consider ceding the County Sheriff's authority to a state or federal agency appropriate and/or justified?

GibbsWithout specific facts or circumstances this is difficult to answer. There are absolutely times when outside assistance might be needed to assist in an investigation. But there are times for significant events after consulting with the County Attorney’s Office it might be best to hand the case over to the federal system for further investigation and/or prosecution.

Lane I cannot think of a circumstance, that is so extreme, that would make it beneficial to the public to turn over local authority to the State or Federal government.

LayeI would not consider ceding the County Sheriff’s authority to any other agency. The Sheriff is the protection of the citizens of the county to their constitutional rights and just as I swore an oath for the first time in 1990 to support and defend the Constitution when entering the military, my dedication to upholding my oath has never wavered and it never will.

MorseI can not think of any circumstances I would consider ceding the County Sheriff’s Authority to State or Federal Authorities.

Scott County Grand Jury 

Question 7: When a duly sworn Scott County Grand Jury contacts the Scott County Sheriff for assistance in investigating alleged crimes or wrongdoing by a publicly sworn officer, and this investigation is independent of the Scott County Attorney's initiative or participation, will you as County Sheriff assist the Grand Jury with such matters as serving and enforcing subpoenas for the Grand Jury's investigation?

GibbsConvening a grand jury shall be by order of a district court judge, at the request of the County Attorney, or upon the request of a majority of the grand jurors. A grand jury properly convened by rule of law would have the cooperation of the Sheriff’s Office.

LaneI would consider it to be very unusual for the Grand Jury to call itself to a convention,  initiate its own investigation, or to request subpoenas to gather facts for that investigation.  However, if I this situation arises, the Sheriff’s Office will serve those subpoenas without interference.

LayeYes. It is the duty and responsibility of the Sheriff’s Office or any other peace officer to immediately serve any subpoena as requested by the Grand Jury which are not served by other persons as the Iowa Court Rules allow. It is the responsibility to investigate the indictable offense(s) by questioning witnesses and examining evidence presented through the subpoena process.

MorseIowa Code 331.653 the Sheriff upon written order of the County Attorney, makes a special investigation of any alleged infraction of law within the County and report the findings. Without County Attorney involvement, the Sheriff’s Office has no responsibility to do so. Iowa Code 331.756(8) requires the County Attorney to attend a Grand Jury when necessary and shall procure subpoenas and other processes for witnesses and prepare all information and indictments. This would lead to the County Attorney utilizing the Sheriff’s Office for service of such. Short of a Grand Jury convened for the indictment of someone in the County Attorney’s Office or the Sheriff, I do not see this happening. 

Question 8: If no, why not? If yes, and the Grand Jury's subsequent investigation results in probable cause for an indictment and due process for the accused, will you also enforce the Grand Jury's indictment or True Bill, and arrest and incarcerate the accused, so that due process can ensue?

GibbsA properly convened grand jury issuing an indictment would be supported by judicial orders which would support the arrest of a subject, and incarceration if necessary

Lane If the Scott County Grand Jury comes back with an indictment, an arrest warrant will be issued, and the Sheriff’s Office would serve that warrant.  That does not mean that I would allow such a warrant from another jurisdiction to be served upon someone in Scott County.

LayeIt is the duty and responsibility of the Sheriff’s Office or any other peace officer to enforce a warrant for the arrest of an individual based upon probable cause and transport the individual to a place of confinement to begin due process.

MorseDepending on the circumstances, I would enforce the indictment and make the arrest.

Property Rights & Privacy

Question 9: Do you consider an individual's body his/her own private property? 


Gibbs: I believe an individual is their own person, but they are not property.

Lane I consider that a person has an even higher constitutional right over their body than their property.

LayeArticle I Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution and the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantee the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures but upon probable cause. Key word here is “persons” which means their individual body which belongs only to them.

MorseA person’s body is their personal property. 

Question 10: What is the probable cause standard for obtaining a warrant to search constitutionally protected private property of a resident of Scott County, Iowa, as defined by the U.S. and Iowa Constitutions?

GibbsThe Constitutional Amendment governing searches arises from the 4th Amendment of both the US Constitution and the Iowa Constitution. The application and issuance of a search warrant in Iowa is outlined in Iowa Code 808

LaneA reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and that the fruits of the crime could be located at the specific location to be searched.

LayeThe Constitutions do not define probable cause but only establish the standard of probable cause in order to obtain a warrant for arrest, search or seizure. Through the judicial construct, The U.S. Supreme Court has established probable cause exists when a peace officer has knowledge, evidence or facts of circumstance which would lead a reasonable person to believe a crime has been, is currently or will be committed.

MorseProbable Cause for obtaining a search warrant is information supporting the facts of a crime having been committed. This information links a person, place, or item to the crime and the need for the search or seizure. This can include supporting witnesses, videos, documents, and physical evidence.

Question 11: Under what circumstances is it appropriate and legal to conduct warrantless surveillances or searches, whether physically or virtually upon a Scott County citizen's private property?

GibbsThe right of the people to be free from unreasonable searches is very important and much debated through the courts. There are times as outlined by the Supreme Court that law enforcement may conduct warrantless searches which are recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement. Some examples are the Carroll Doctrine governing the warrantless searches of automobiles. Exigency or emergencies which require immediate action (destruction of evidence, to render emergency aid, etc.). Community Caretaking is also an exception to the warrant requirement, although it does not apply to the home. Consent of the person to be searched or who has authority over the item to be searched is also an exception.

Lane It is not appropriate to conduct warrantless searches upon constitutionally protected private property even with the use of advancing technology.

LayeOnly by consent or a recognized exception as established by the U.S. Supreme Court.

MorseIt is appropriate and no warrant is needed to conduct surveillance in any public space, area, or building openly available to the public. A warrantless search is appropriate when the search of a vehicle, person, or item incident to arrest or in certain instances the officer has an articulable suspicion crime is afoot.

Question 12: Approximately what dollar amount of the County Sheriff Office's annual budget is allocated to deputies serving notification to employers to enforce court orders for garnishment of wages, specifically associated with unsecured credit card debt collection?

GibbsThe Scott County Sheriff’s budget is a public document, and monies are allocated to our Civil Division to perform those related duties. However, garnishment and debt collection are a small portion of the duties they perform.

Lane The budget amount is difficult to calculate due to it being only a portion of the responsibility of multiple employees and the fact that if it was no longer part of the Sheriff’s Office responsibilities it would not change the annual budget.

LayeThe budget is not broken down to this specificity and would be difficult to project as there is fluctuation based upon the economical status and employment rates of society. The projected budget for the Civil Service by Deputies for the current fiscal year for serving notification of all papers is $392,100.

MorseI can give no knowledgeable answer. 

Question 13: Do you support or oppose asset forfeiture only upon a conviction and not before a conviction? If yes, why, and if no, why not?

GibbsI support asset forfeiture upon conviction. I also support asset forfeiture through civil forfeiture proceedings as allowed by Iowa law.

Lane Asset forfeiture typically is part of a conviction of a serious crime.  However, often times a defendant makes no claim to the assets seized.  Based on some of the cases that I have seen, the defendant often does not have legitimate claim to the assets seized and the true owner will not come forward because it would draw attention to the criminal enterprise that they are involved in.  Proving that assets should be forfeited is not easy.

LayeI support seizing property used in the commission of an indictable crime for evidentiary purposes or safe keeping until due process is complete and then upon conviction proceeding with the asset forfeiture process in compliance with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Program to disrupt, dismantle and deter criminal enterprises from continued criminal activity.

Morse I don’t believe asset forfeiture is proper until a conviction is rendered by the court. If the state is unable to prove the item is linked to criminal acts, those items are linked to the defendant and the defendant is guilty of those crimes, there is no legal argument for the continued seizure of the assets.

Question 14: What issue or issues within the sheriff's office/department are the most pressing that voters should be concerned about, and what is your stance on such? (please limit response to 200 words or less)

GibbsAt issue for citizens of Scott County is the path and direction of their Sheriff’s Office. I want to move the Sheriff’s Office forward in a positive direction through effective and collaborative leadership to ensure equal enforcement of the laws while ensuring constitutional rights. I have a passion and unwavering commitment to public safety. I believe in building relationships with our communities and other law enforcement agencies. Building these positive relationships will help to work collaboratively to solve our diverse community's needs. Working closely with our Emergency Management Agency to ensure our communities are prepared for emergencies through training and collaboration. I want to continue and enhance training topics and opportunities for the Sheriff’s Office. I will to work with our Board of Supervisors on ways to ensure adequate staffing and salaries of both law enforcement and jail personnel. I will work diligently for our community, understanding the depth of responsibility which rests upon the Office of the Sheriff.

Lane The most pressing issues with the Sheriff’s Office right now involve the inability to properly staff the Scott County Jail.  The constant rapid turnover of employees has caused a burnout due to long work hours and mandatory overtime.  The potential of a temporary or long term emergency due to the inability to maintain minimum staff is always an issue.  There is a cost to the taxpayer due to housing inmates in other counties and related transport costs.

LayeIneffective leadership; I would develop and implement a leadership development program to mentor and train the future leaders of the Sheriff’s Office and ensure every member of the Sheriff’s Office is a leader in the community. You have to be present to lead and cannot lead from behind a desk. Ineffective communication; I would ensure all members of the Sheriff’s Office are engaged in ongoing communication to ensure the current lack of transparency is abolished amongst all members of the Sheriff”s Office as well as the lack of transparency with information provided to the public. I would finally ensure there was a change in the work environment where staff are not continuously overworked and their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of themselves and their families are prioritized by implementing a robust mental health support program with adequate support services to assist in the retention and recruitment of quality employees. Ethical and moral standards would be established and adhered too. We will not place ourselves into a situation in which our ethical or moral character will be questioned.

MorseI believe the current views of the Sheriff are outdated and the future demands of the citizens are not and will not be met. The Business of Law Enforcement and how it is done must evolve. We must take action in the area of mental health, its effect on drug abuse, and the burden it puts on the court system. A mental health initiative needs to be implemented and a mental health unit created with a combination of law enforcement, mental health professionals, and social services.


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