IC City Council defers vote on compensation for Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners

During an Iowa City City Council and Truth and Reconciliation Commission meeting Tuesday, the commission asked for compensation concerning their work on the commission.


Jerod Ringwald

Mayor Bruce Teague speaks during an Iowa City City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

The Iowa City City Council continues to defer a decision on the city’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s request for compensation for its members.

During the August 17 meeting, Iowa City City Council and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission discussed the budget, specifically the section of the budget which requested that commissioners get paid per meeting they attend.

The council voted to defer a vote on the budget at its last meeting, on July 27.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a nine-member commission established by the Iowa City City Council to bear witness to the racial injustice in Iowa City. The commission resumed after a three-week suspension in April, as previously reported by The Daily Iowan.

“I have talked to you all individually and I heard you, I want you to know that I heard you but I believe that compensation for the TRC is not appropriate,” Mayor Bruce Teague said.

Members of the council, like Teague, disagreed with the commission’s proposed budget of $337,500, to be split between stipends, facilitators, outreach, and training.

“I do know that on the budget, on one level, I feel that you need a facilitator so that you can plan what the ultimate plan is,” Teague said.

In the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission budget, the commissioners would be compensated a stipend of $500 per member for every meeting attended. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been meeting bi-weekly since January.

Members of other city commissions and boards are not paid.

“And I’m not saying that we won’t pay some or we shouldn’t pay some, but the broad umbrella that everybody should get paid. I am in full disagreement with that statement,” Teague said.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Mohamed Traore said some commissioners have jobs outside of the board, and are committed to serving on it.

“I think it is not only wrong, but irresponsible to think that we should be putting ourselves in harm’s way and putting our family members or friends in harm’s way to continue coming out in public and to be looking to have public events or to look to have public engagement and be doing it all for free,” Traore said.

Eric Harris, a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said he has heard around Iowa City that many people don’t know what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission does in the government.

“But we talked about snow removal, fireworks, but not the people that’s doing the important work in the city,” Harris said.

Teague added that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission could add or revise items on the budget and present their changes.

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