Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

December 10, 2012

Concern expressed about County liability

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — The Marion County Board of Supervisors approved a hold harmless agreement with the City of Pella, but another one may be necessary to protect the County, according to Supervisor-elect Mark Raymie. 

As previously reported, the Marion County Attorney's Office was offered ballistic vests from the Pella Police Department. The PPD is no longer using the ones it plans to donate to the County Attorney's Office and the Pella City Council requested the agreement to avoid potential lawsuits, in the event of an injury or tragedy involving a County employee. 

Marion County Attorney Ed Bull and his assistants have participated in police ride-alongs and search warrant executions. Bull sought the vests to protect himself and his attorneys when they visit crime scenes. 

Raymie attended Monday morning's supervisors' meeting and was concerned that absolving Pella of liability may place more liability on the County. He wants to protect the County from any litigation, beyond a workers' compensation claim, in the event something goes wrong. 

"I'm not trying to make it bigger than it is," Raymie said. 

The supervisors discussed the possibility of an agreement to protect the County. Bull said he could look into drafting one. Options to protect county attorneys were mentioned, including this one from outgoing Board Chairman Sam Nichols.

"Or you just don't go on the ride-alongs," Nichols said. 

In other board action, the supervisors approved the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting engine brakes. The supervisors had on its agenda the final approval of this ordinance, but Supervisor Craig Agan wanted to provide opportunity for the public to learn more about it. 

Look for more on the ordinance and a complete report on the supervisors in the Dec. 14 edition of the Journal-Express.