HELP WANTED: Deputy Director of Linn County Conservation

February 21, 2018

Jobs in conservation are few and far between so if you are qualified, you should apply now because this job likely won’t be offered again for another 5 to 25 years. Apply online at www.linncounty.org (Job Opportunities). The deadline for this position is Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

O-ConservationDeputyDirectorFeb19,2018.pdf

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Rebuttal to NBC concerning attempts to hack Iowa’s voter registration system

February 15, 2018

Iowa’s Secretary of State is taking exception to NBC’s report and he wants Iowa’s county auditors & commissioners of elections to know the facts. The one fact that no one seems to dispute: Iowa was a target in 2016. Read on. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

From: Kline, Ken [SOS] [mailto:Ken.Kline@sos.iowa.gov]
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:18 AM

County Auditors:

You have seen recent reports from NBC News about attempted election hacking in 2016. Secretary Pate wants to ensure that you have accurate information so that you have a good understanding of the issues, and are able to answer questions you may receive.

First and foremost, there have been no unauthorized intrusions into Iowa’s voter registration system. Prior to the 2016 General Election, persons in the Russian government scanned the Secretary of State’s public website, which is not connected to the voter registration system. Security experts liken a scan of this type to a burglar who drives through a neighborhood looking for an easy house to break in, as opposed to hacking, which would be an intrusion or break-in. Because the scan was done on the public website, and not the voter registration system, the “burglars” were not even driving through the right neighborhood. Again, there have been no unauthorized intrusions into Iowa’s voter registration system.

The NBC story includes inaccuracies, and even contradicts itself in the first two paragraphs. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Association of Secretaries of State have strongly criticized the NBC report: http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/373423-homeland-security-calls-nbc-report-on-election-hacking-false.

Secretary Pate takes cybersecurity seriously, and this office partners with the OCIO’s Chief Information Security Officer, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, MS-ISAC (Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center), and others to ensure system and data integrity. Additionally, Secretary Pate is a member of the Government Coordinating Council for Elections Infrastructure Subsector. This group was established in October 2017 to shape how the DHS critical infrastructure designation for elections is administered at both the state and local levels. Our IT Department is vigilant in protecting the voter registration database, employing continuous monitoring and numerous protections to keep the system secure.

It is important for the public to know that this office – in partnership with the county auditors – is committed to safeguarding the Iowa’s election infrastructure. News stories based on inaccurate information serve only to undermine public confidence in our elections.

We will continue to keep you informed and to work with you on best practices regarding cybersecurity. If you have any questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Ken Kline
Deputy Commissioner of Elections
Elections and Voter Registration

Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate

(515) 242-5071
ken.kline
SERVICE · PARTICIPATION · INTEGRITY

sos.iowa.gov

HELP WANTED: Community Health Division Manager

February 13, 2018

Like a number of private sector employers, Linn County is seeking to fill open positions. Attached is a job description for a manager in Linn County Public Health.

Any interested person may apply online at www.linncounty.org (Job Opportunities). The deadline to apply for this position is Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

O-CommunityHealthDivisionMgrFeb12,2018.pdf

HELP WANTED: Elections office coordinator

February 12, 2018

Interested in working in elections on a permanent basis? We have an opportunity for you.

Linn County already held one election in 2018 and we will likely administer another 3-4 special elections, as well as, a primary and general election in 2018. We are busy!

The elections office coordinator position was offered to current Linn County employees first per the County’s union contracts; however, now, the public can apply. If you are interested or have questions, please contact mailto:joel.miller – Linn County Auditor

ElectionsOfficeCoordinatorFebruary 2018.pdf

Voter registration party changes from the caucuses

February 9, 2018

The numbers below represent the changes in voters’ party preferences as a result of the political party caucuses held on Monday, February 5th. These changes reflect those that voted with their feet and attended the caucuses on a snowy night versus those who opted to stay home.

I don’t think you can draw any conclusions from these numbers, but I am certain someone will try. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Party Change Counts
Party Changes Number of Changes
Democrat to Republican 3
No Party to Democrat 19
No Party to Republican 2
Other to Democrat 2
Republican to Democrat 2

Electronic poll books tested at Lisbon election

February 8, 2018

During Tuesday’s election in Lisbon, poll workers (PEOs) tested Poll Pads, i.e., the electronic poll books (EPBs) we are considering using for future elections. EPBs are rapidly replacing paper-based election registers in Iowa and across the nation.

Overall, Tuesday’s test of the Poll Pads was successful, i.e., the PEOs efficiently checked-in the voters and dispensed ballots. When the election concluded, the Poll Pad provided reports – see attached – that are as yet unavailable from the other two EPBs being used in Iowa.

The Voter Turnout reports from the Poll Pad allowed us to review when voters checked-in to vote. For example, the best time to go to vote on Tuesday was at 7am, Noon, or after 7pm. The dip in voters at Noon is a surprise because we always thought there was a surge of voters over the lunch hour, but that was not the case on Tuesday.

Another report is the Types of Voter ID used. Even though the Iowa Secretary of State mailed out over 120,000 voter ID cards in December, only one was presented at the voter check-in table. This is the type of data we need to see to understand what types of IDs the voters have or do not have.

Imagine if you knew in advance if the polls were busy BEFORE you headed to the polls. When we go to the airport, we can see if our plane is going to arrive on-time or takeoff on-time. Election administrators are not asking for too much when we ask for funds to modernize our elections; we are only asking to use the technology that is available to everyone else in the country.

Poll Pad technology is available now. We demonstrated it on Tuesday. How much is it worth to you? How much is your time worth? What technology should be used to administer elections in Linn County? If you have an opinion on this topic, send an email to mailto:Joel.Miller – Linn County Auditor

voter_turnout 15 min.pdf

voter_turnout by hour.pdf

TypesofVoterID-2018-02-06.pdf

@LisbonCSD voters set a high bar for future voters

February 7, 2018

Great news! Only 5 of the 560 voters voting at the polling place in yesterday’s (2/6) Lisbon Community School District (LCSD) election could NOT produce a required ID. And those five non-ID holders voted after signing an additional oath – see attached.

Was the Lisbon election representative of the forthcoming 2018 elections in terms of non-ID holders versus ID holders? Probably not. But kudos to the LCSD’s voters for being prepared to vote by bringing an ID. Five of 560 voters means less than one percent of the voters did not have an acceptable form of ID and that’s way less than I expected.

About ten days ago, we hosted a satellite voting station at the LCSD High School and 250 voters voted and only two showed up without an ID. Turns out both of them had driver’s licenses on record, which allowed them to vote a regular ballot.

Requiring #voterID in a precinct with a college or university could result in a different outcome, but the performance of LCSD’s voters gives me hope 1> that the word is getting out that an ID is required and 2> that producing an ID is not insurmountable.

LCSD’s voters set a high bar for future voters in the 2018 elections. Congratulations @LisbonCSD voters on being engaged in your local government, knowing the issues, and voting in your election! – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

2018 ID oath.pdf

Anonymous tips welcomed by Auditor

February 1, 2018

Today, the Office of Linn County Auditor (LCA) is unveiling an anonymous tip reporting service called Heroes Hotline (HH). The purpose of HH is to allow anyone including employees, contractors, vendors, and residents to seek answers to questions related to Linn County’s funds, accounts, and tax dollars.

At present, HH is the first and only way a person can truly report a tip related to the County and remain anonymous. And the HH has another feature which vastly increases its potential for success. It allows a tipster the ability to continue communicating with the LCA after the tipster’s initial report without revealing their identify.

For example, the LCA may require additional information or clarification in order to investigate a tip. The LCA would leave a message for the tipster in the HH and if/when the tipster accesses the HH, he or she would see the message from the LCA.

The reverse applies when the tipster updates his/her tip except the LCA is automatically notified by the system when an update is made to the original tip. The LCA does NOT have access to the IP address or any other data which could be used to identify the tipster because the HH is hosted on a third party platform, i.e., on Navex Global’s EthicsPoint

Tipsters beware! In order to remain anonymous, tipsters should not use County-owned devices, or the County’s Wi-Fi or network services.

The LCA would like to emphasize that the primary purpose of HH is to allow tipsters to seek answers to questions related to Linn County’s funds, accounts, and tax dollars because the LCA has the statutory power to audit those funds and accounts for compliance with State and Federal laws. While the LCA will try to be responsive to reports on other issues, the LCA recognizes that other County departments, managers, and elected officials may be better suited to address those issues.

For example, if an employee is having issues with his/her manager and the issues are not being resolved to the employee’s satisfaction, then the appropriate way to address the situation may be to escalate to the County’s Human Resources department or to the manager’s manager.

Auditor Miller says, “I hope no one ever needs to use the Heroes Hotline, but if they do, they may truly be a hero and I stand ready to assist them to the extent possible.” – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

NEWS RELEASE: Linn County Seeks To Fill Board & Commission Openings

January 31, 2018

For more information, contact:

Britt Nielsen

Communications Specialist

(319) 892-5126

britt.nielsen

For Immediate Release

January 30, 2018

Linn County Seeks To Fill Board & Commission Openings

LINN COUNTY, IA – January 30, 2018 – The Linn County Board of Supervisors is accepting applications to fill voluntary appointments on the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Mechanical Board of Appeals, and the Building Board of Appeals.

Planning & Zoning Commission

The Linn County Planning & Zoning Commission reviews and makes recommendations on proposed development applications for the unincorporated area of the county. Types of cases include proposals to rezone from one zoning district to another; proposals to subdivide land for development; and conditional use permit applications. The Commission also makes recommendations on amendments to the zoning and other land development regulations, and on the Linn County Comprehensive Plan. The Commission typically meets on the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids.

Board of Adjustment

The Linn County Zoning Board of Adjustment hears and decides appeals for variances and special exceptions from the zoning regulations; hears and decides on appeals from administrative decisions of the county zoning administrator; and hears and decides on conditional use permit applications. The Board typically meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids.

Applicants for these openings must be residents of rural Linn County and may submit an online application through the Linn County website at www.linncounty.org or may pick up an application at the Linn County Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW in Cedar Rapids from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, contact the Linn County Planning & Development Department at (319) 892-5130.

Mechanical Board of Appeals

The Linn County Mechanical Board of Appeals hears and decides appeals to determinations of Building Division staff with regard to Linn County Mechanical Regulations. Member responsibilities include making judgements regarding the interpretation of Mechanical Construction Codes as adopted by Linn County ordinance. This appeal board also serves as an advisory committee, making recommendations to The Board of Supervisors regarding code changes and ordinance adoption. The Board meets at 5:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month, as necessary, at the Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids.

Applicants must be a Licensed HVAC Contractor and a resident of Linn County and may submit an online application through the Linn County website at www.linncounty.org or may pick up an application at the Linn County Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW in Cedar Rapids from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, contact the Linn County Planning & Development Department at (319) 892-5130.

Building Board of Appeals

The Linn County Building Board of Appeals hears and decides appeals to determinations of Building Division staff with regard to Linn County Construction Regulations. Member responsibilities include making judgements regarding the interpretation of Construction Codes as adopted by Linn County ordinance. This appeal board also serves as an advisory committee, making recommendations to The Board of Supervisors regarding code changes and ordinance adoption. The Board meets at 5:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, as necessary, at the Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids.

Applicants must be residents of Linn County and may submit an online application through the Linn County website at www.linncounty.org or may pick up an application at the Linn County Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW in Cedar Rapids from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, contact the Linn County Planning & Development Department at (319) 892-5130. ###

Top secret: How many of our deceased were cremated?

January 30, 2018

How many cremation permits were signed by the Linn County Medical Examiner (ME) from 1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017? According to not one, but two assistant county attorneys, I have no legal remedy to find out.

Forget about Iowa’s Open Records laws (Code of Iowa Chapter 22) – medical examiner records are confidential public records. And forget about my power to audit – Code of Iowa section 331.502(41) – the fees the medical examiner receives for signing cremation permits have never been deposited into a county fund or account so there is no county fund or account to audit. This reminds of that greasy pig contest my 4-H club held in the 70s.

Earlier this month, I blogged about How much do cremation permits cost taxpayers? I wanted to know how much revenue is generated by the ME for signing cremation permits since the County’s taxpayers are ultimately paying this death tax. It seemed like a simple question. Unfortunately, the Board of Supervisors had little interest in knowing the answer.

I did not let it go.

Last week, I sent an open records request to our medical examiner – see attached. Today, I received a reply from an assistant county attorney – see attached. And now that I have reviewed a cremation permit form, I realize I don’t need and I don’t want all of the data on the form. But the ME could redact everything on the form except for the name of the decedent and a date, and I could count the number of signed permits to determine the fees he earned. Or at the very least, the ME could give me a notarized statement as to the number of cremation permits he signed in 2017.

Or the Board of Supervisors could order the ME to disclose the number of cremation permits he signed … or threaten to cancel his contract if he didn’t disclose the numbers. What are the odds of that happening?

So are the taxpayers of Linn County paying their ME $30K, $70K, or $100K per year for him to sign cremation permits? How many Linn County residents are being cremated per year? The answers to those questions are top secret until someone in a position of power asks them … and discloses the facts. And that’s not me. Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Response from assistant county attorney on 1-26-2018 re Public records request for copies of signed cremation permits.pdf

Public records request to Dr Linder – ME dated 1-23-2018.pdf


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