116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - With a third of its members having resigned in the past week, the Iowa City Council on Tuesday will weigh temporarily suspending the city's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
'(B)ased on observations of the TRC's meetings and recent resignations of TRC members and the TRC's chosen facilitator, the City Council believes it is in the best interests of the City ... to temporarily suspend the operation of the TRC pending further discussion and action by the City Council,” the proposed resolution reads.
The city council is scheduled to discuss the commission during its work session and formal meeting. The public will have a chance to weigh in during the public meeting.
Tuesday's discussion comes at the request of Mayor Bruce Teague, who addressed the commission at the beginning of its March 4 meeting ahead of a planned vote of no confidence in the commission's leadership.
During the contentious meeting, chairperson Royceann Porter resigned from her leadership role before the no confidence vote. Vice chair T'Shailyn Harrington briefly assumed the chairperson role before her ouster.
Commission members acknowledged the group had experienced turmoil during its first six meetings, but Porter was singled out for creating an unwelcoming environment in the meetings.
The former chairwoman was accused of telling a community member to 'get over” the June 3 protest in which demonstrators were tear gassed and with having a hostile conversation with a member of the public following his criticism of a commission meeting.
Commissioner Mohamed Traore was selected as the new chair and Amel Ali was selected as vice chair during the meeting. In the days that followed, Commissioner Anthony Currin, Porter and Harrington all resigned from th ecommission.
Jesse Case, who had been hired as a facilitator for the commission, also resigned.
In his letter of resignation, Case outlined three potential courses of action for the city council to consider:
' Reconfigure the current commission by adding more members, establish ground rules for meetings, provide training and orientation for commission members and clearly define the role of the new facilitator.
' Disband the commission and reform it with a criteria-based selection process for commissioners, applicant interviews and training for new commissioners.
' Issue a Request for Proposals from nonprofits or educational organizations to run the commission.
'Tasked with an enormous responsibility but provided with no structures or support for carrying it out, it is not surprising that the Commission has become paralyzed by what looks like infighting, but what is in fact the natural result of the City not yet backing up its resolution with structures and processes that would enable the Commission to succeed,” Case wrote.
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