ELECTION 2020

City employee in the northwestern Iowa town of Ute draws ire for putting up Trump flags on public property

Ute, population 374, quickly removes flags

(Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
(Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

UTE, Iowa — Several flags in support of Donald Trump for president were hung overnight on downtown city poles in Ute in northwest Iowa, before being taken down Wednesday morning.

A short time later, the State Auditor’s Office also reminded Iowans that campaign signs or flags cannot be displayed on public property.

The auditor’s office release said a Ute city employee used Facebook to post “a photograph of a candidate’s flags flying on multiple city properties, along with text that supported” the candidate and the flying of his flags.

The release praised the city — population 374 — for taking down the flags quickly.

The auditor’s release said campaign signs being illegally placed on the public right of way is a problem every year in Iowa.

“Every Iowan has a responsibility to know this rule and follow it,” the release said.

“But, for a public employee whose salary is paid by Iowans of all political persuasions to speak approvingly, whether on social media or elsewhere, of the misuse of public property to promote a candidate, is particularly unacceptable,” the release said.

“It is a violation of the civic trust all public employees hold, most of them dearly, to serve all Iowans equally.”

The employee who put up the flags was not identified.

The auditor’s office encouraged Iowans to report “any suspected misuse by a public employee supporting any political party” to its office.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.