Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 29, 2013

Sullivan’s Salvos     12/3/13

In this edition:

*The Best Government Money Can Buy
*Obamacare Info
*Recall Elections
*Did You Know?

*The Best Government Money Can Buy
         Johnson County recently considered a controversial zoning matter. A wealthy local businessman wanted to rezone some property. His proposal went against our adopted Land Use Plan. He was told no by a 3-2 margin.

         As he left the room, the gentleman complained about how much he pays in taxes. I did not say anything at the time, but I have thought about it ever since.

         He has no interest in speaking to me, I’m sure. And I do not want to rub salt into a wound. But I’d honestly like to hear more from this guy. I am sincerely interested in the thoughts he expressed.

         I want to know if he really believes we should consider the amount an applicant pays in taxes when making our decisions. Should he get treated better because he pays more? Should the government favor him over someone who does less to fund that government?

On the other hand, some governments are creating “express” services for people that can afford them. Just like the “express pass” at Disney – if you pay enough, you cut to the front of the line. Governments who have adopted this stance argue that they are simply following the lead of the private sector. Plus, the ability to charge extra fees is attractive in an age of tight budgets.

         Some might argue this gentleman already receives this type of favoritism. After all, two Supervisors were willing to go against our Land Use Plan to give him what he wants; would they do that for someone who was poor?

I’ll admit - I myself have given this gentleman what I would consider to be better than average service simply because of his status. Twice when the County was considering ordinance changes, I preemptively reached out to him to solicit his opinion. I did not do that with random poor people!

         I’m certain that I am viewed as insufficiently “pro-business” by this gentleman and several others. Sometimes I find this frustrating, as I would argue that I have been a bigger advocate of “buying local” than any other elected official. I truly want to see him and all our local business owners do well.

But I often wonder – do they REALLY want a government whose decisions are for sale to the highest bidder? Like many locals, this guy is a big fish in a small pond. What if the next thing he wants is opposed by MidAmerican? What if it is opposed by Microsoft? Does he really want governmental decisions made on the basis of who pays the most taxes?

         Meanwhile, what are your thoughts? Should government services/decisions depend upon how much one pays in taxes?

*Obamacare Sign Up
The following came from Lynette Jacoby, Johnson County’s Social Services Director. (We are lucky to have her, by the way!)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will allow many uninsured and under-insured Iowans the opportunity to obtain free or low cost healthcare. The trick now is ensuring that everyone is informed on how to accomplish this and assisting them in making it happen!

The Johnson County Healthcare Outreach Group (representatives from local health and social services agencies, Johnson County, United Way, UIHC, and insurance brokers) has developed strategies to build awareness and offer assistance on accessing health insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace.

1.) Individual service providers working directly with families earning below 400% federal poverty level are critical to outreach efforts and informing consumers about the ACA. Tara Clark, UIHC Social Worker, will provide a training on the Affordable Care Act/ Healthcare Marketplace for social services and healthcare providers on Friday December 6, 10:00 -11:30 in room 203 of the Health and Human Services Building. Providers will learn the nuts and bolts of the Healthcare Marketplace available in Iowa through the Affordable Care Act and the role they can play to assist consumers with enrolling in a healthcare plan.  For those unable to attend the training the Iowa Insurance Division has a variety of webinars available for targeted audiences. These webinars can be accessed at:

2.) The attached brochure identifies access points to assist consumers in applying for assistance. Please distribute the brochure widely.

3.) UIHC will be hosting enrollment fairs on January 11, February 1, and March 1. The locations and times of the fairs can be found at <> . UIHC will also offer healthcare enrollment assistance in the community room of the Coral Ridge Mall December 2- 15.

4.) Check the United Way website; for up-to-date information on enrollment fairs offered throughout the county.

Thanks, Lynette, for this important update!

*Recall Elections
         I think recall elections are extremely bad policy. When a person gets elected, she/he deserves to fill out the term of office, no matter how badly she/he performs. I feel strongly that recalls are bad at any level of government.

         I do think every level of government needs a provision for impeachment. If an elected official is convicted of a felony, fails to fulfill the duties of the office, or commits some other high crime, there should be recourse available to remove that person from office.

         Note, however, that impeachment should not EVER be used because elected officials disagree. It should ONLY be used when the law and/or oath of office has been violated.

         Eight states allow recall elections, but only when laws have been violated. 11 states allow recalls with no reason necessary. Iowa is one of the 31 states with no provision for recall elections.

         I am very glad Iowa does not allow recall elections without cause. That probably means the Legislature will pass it this year!

*DID YOU KNOW?  Clarion (Wright County) is the only Iowa county seat in the exact center of the county.

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

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



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