Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

Previous Posts


December 23, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 12/20/11

In this edition:

*Merry Christmas!
*Serving as Chair
*Running For Reelection
*Bridge Data
*Congrats North Liberty!
*Salvos Salutes Next Week!
*Did You Know?

*Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to those of you that celebrate it. Happy Holidays to the rest. I hope you have a safe and fulfilling holiday.

*Serving as Chair
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has a tradition of rotating the position of Board Chair. Each year, a different member of the Board takes over as of the first meeting of the year.

Though it is basically a formality, the Board still votes to select its leader. There have been a couple notable instances when the “rotation” did not happen. Dick Myers and Joe Bolkcom, who both went on to serve notable careers in higher office, were both passed over by their peers.

In some counties, the Chair rotates amongst the political party in charge. In Polk County, for example, the three Democrats rotate the role of Chair, effectively shutting out the GOP. In Muscatine County, the GOP used to do the same thing to Democratic Supervisors. In other counties, one individual has held the role of Chair for decades. So there is no set method other than holding the election.

Personally, I do not see any reason to shut anyone out. While it can get cumbersome, we have always operated on the premise that three members (a majority) of the Board can put anything they wish on the agenda, even over the objection of the Chair.

Additionally, individual Board members can impact the agenda without being Chair. I am proud of the fact that at my suggestion, agendas were changed to allow public discussion at both the beginning and end of each meeting. When I first started, public discussion was only at the end of the agenda. So if you showed up for a 5:30 PM meeting, you might not get to raise your issue until 9 PM. That was not friendly toward the public. But when I brought it up, others were happy to oblige.

To me, the biggest job of the Chair is ensuring that meetings run smoothly. The public deserves efficiency and effectiveness. A well-run meeting can also save hours of staff time – and that means money!

I am in line to serve as the Chair for 2012. I am looking forward to serving in that capacity, and I am happy to take your suggestions for improving Board meetings.

*Running For Reelection
Salvos readers, I have decided to seek reelection to the Board of Supervisors. Below is the press release I just sent out.

Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan announced today that he will seek reelection to a third term. Sullivan pointed to several accomplishments during his time in office. Since Sullivan joined the Board, Johnson County has:

• Successfully dealt with flood response and recovery;
• Passed a Human Rights Ordinance, the first County in Iowa to do so;
• Passed a Sensitive Areas Ordinance, the first County in Iowa to do so;
• Signed on to the Cool Counties initiative, the first County in Iowa to do so;
• Created a Livable Community for Seniors, the first County in Iowa to do so;
• Created a Trails Committee and for the first time put trails in the budget;
• Instituted a highly successful Earned Income Tax Credit program;
• Established a Buy Local policy;
• Passed a Wind Energy Ordinance;
• Added rural tornado sirens.

Sullivan has been involved with numerous organizations, including AFT Local 716; Sierra Club; St. Andrew Presbyterian Church; Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents; IC Area Chamber; UNESCO City of Literature; Emergency Management Commission; Convention and Visitors Bureau; Johnson Co. Council of Governments; Chair of the Iowa Assoc. of Counties Human Services Committee; United Way of Johnson Co.; and Community Foundation of Johnson Co.

Sullivan’s top campaign issues for a third term are:
*Working with cities for sensible TIF usage;
*improving rural housing conditions; and
*increased support for Human Services.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege serving as a Johnson County Supervisor,” Sullivan said. “We have accomplished some good things, but we can do so much more. I want to continue to push Johnson County to be the best it can be.”

Sullivan can be contacted at 319-354-7199 or He has a website at

*Bridge Data
Here is some very interesting data on bridges, courtesy of the Johnson County Engineer’s Office:

• There are over 24,700 bridges in Iowa, which is in the top 5 in the US.

• 223 of those bridges are in Johnson County. (This refers to bridges under County jurisdiction; that means a bridge owned by the State, or Tiffin, or Lone Tree, etc. is not included.)

• The 223 bridges are actually 165 bridges and 58 extra long culverts.

• Of the 223, 29 (13%) are structurally deficient. That puts Johnson County right in line with the national average (13%), but ahead of Iowa as a whole (22%).

• 35% of our bridges are 30-50 years old; 10% are 50-70; and 21% are over 70 years old.

It is important to note that structurally deficient does not mean unsafe. It means the bridge is required to have a weight limit, and it needs repair sooner rather than later.

If a bridge scores low enough, it is automatically closed. We have two of those – both on Level B roads, and both already closed.

*Congrats North Liberty!
North Liberty is prominently featured in the November issue of American City & County magazine.

Reporters with the magazine interview North Liberty officials about their move from paper packets to tablet computers. The article includes a photo, and I can make out Mayor Salm and Councilors Chipman and Kuhl!

We had a joint meeting in North Liberty a few months ago, and saw the tablets in action. Johnson County followed suit with tablets a few months later. I can attest, we are now saving thousands of sheets of paper!

Congrats again to North Liberty for blazing a trail, and being recognized for doing so!

*Salvos Salutes Next Week!
Your next edition of Salvos will feature our annual year-end awards – the Salvos Salutes! Check back next week to see who among your friends and neighbors gets honored with these prestigious awards!

*DID YOU KNOW? The use of “Xmas” as shorthand for Christmas comes from the Greek “Xristos”, which means Christ.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line.

As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home