Supervisors wrestle with storm-related closure

Hancock County Courthouse

Rebecca Peter |The Leader

GARNER – The weekend blizzard that swept through Iowa two weeks ago had Hancock County supervisors and elected officials pondering the question, when would it be appropriate to close the courthouse due to severe weather, and who would make that decision?

Officially, the policy is the courthouse never closes, said Supervisor Jerry Tlach. However, each department head makes that decision to close for his/her department in the event of severe weather.

“There’s not a really good policy,” Tlach said.

But that can also lead to confusion among the public.

On Monday, County Attorney Blake Norman presented a draft policy to supervisors.

The draft policy allows for the board chair to make that decision.

“I did not specifically spell out how that decision would be made,” Norman said. The chairperson could make the decision to close the courthouse in consultation with the Sheriff and Secondary Road Department and EMA offices, for example.

“Obviously, this policy would be for very, very few days, if any,” he said. “We live in North Iowa. The weather seems to be getting more extreme, lately.”

Read the complete story in the March 13 Leader.