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Removing Ottumwa school board VP could prove difficult

Monday night’s Ottumwa school board meeting ended with a tense exchange between school board member Nancy Manson and and Vice-President Alex Barr. /Chris Arbino

Ottumwa School Board Vice-President Alex Barr might very well keep his job.

Barr was arrested February 3 for OWI, his fourth such arrest dating back to 2001.

Monday night’s Ottumwa school board meeting ended with a tense exchange between school board member Nancy Manson and Barr.

Manson confronted Barr, saying he doesn’t deserve anymore chances.

“You knowingly broke the law. You knowingly jeopardized the safety of our children. As a mother and retired teacher, that is something that I cannot in good conscience let stand. Therefore, I am asking for your resignation from the Ottumwa Community School District school board effectively immediately,” Manson said.

Barr has not resigned, and deferred on making any public comment about the ordeal.

KTVO wanted to know if Barr could be forced from office.

Chapter 66 of the Iowa code lists seven reasons an elected official can be removed from office.

  1. For willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of the office.
  2. For willful misconduct or maladministration in office.
  3. For corruption.
  4. For extortion.
  5. Upon conviction of a felony.
  6. For intoxication, or upon conviction of being intoxicated.
  7. Upon conviction of violating the provisions of chapter 56.

Wapello County Attorney Gary Oldenburger told us the only one of them that might apply to Barr; “for intoxication, or upon conviction of being intoxicated.”

But the language in the statute on what constitutes intoxication isn't clear.

It would be up to a district court judge to decide if Barr met the standard laid-out in the code. The judge would then have to decide if that warranted Barr's removal from office.

A judge won't even consider the issue unless a petition is filed by one of three parties: the Attorney General of Iowa, the Wapello County Attorney or five registered voters in the Ottumwa school district.

For now, Barr will keep his spot on the board unless he chooses to resign.


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