Iowa City City Council allocate $200,000 to Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Iowa City City Council approved $200,000 at the Sept. 7 council meeting for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.



Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague addresses the crowd at an Iowa City City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

Iowa City City Council approved devoting $200,000 to aid the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s charges –– which was created after the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 –– during its meeting Tuesday.

The budget outlines out the cost of the commission’s operations, such as advertising, transportation for participants, and compensation for commissioners. The budget, which will last from July to December, totals $207,500. The council did not vote on the whole budget on Tuesday.

The Commission also requested the council to approve the budget to hire a facilitator, which is under $200,000.

In August, the council deferred their vote on the proposed budget, as previously reported by The Daily Iowan. This time, the council voted on the facilitator line only from the budget.

“I assume that that’s why they submitted just this one-line item at their meeting and that the whole budget because again, I think they wanted the assistance of the facilitator in front of determining their budgets,” City Attorney Eric Goers said during Tuesday’s council meeting.

One major concern from the council was that distance that the potential commission facilitator, the firm Kearns & West, are not directly linked to Iowa City. Kearns & West has offices located across the country in Washington D.C., California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, and South Carolina.

Mayor Pro Tem Mazahir Salih said she doesn’t mind spending $200,000 or more for a facilitator, but she is concerned that the money will be going to someone that doesn’t know the Iowa City community.

“I really think we need something more local,” Salih said.

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague asked the council if they could consider giving people in Iowa City another opportunity to apply for the TRC facilitator position.

Councilor Susan Mims asked if the council has the legal power to accept applicants.

“I think to stop this or slow this down would just absolutely undermine any confidence that the TRC or the public has,” she said. “But this council is actually serious about the TRC being successful.”

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