Northwest Iowa — Recently the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors voted against having a public prayer before opening a board meeting, instead opting to observe a moment of silence. Woodbury County officials say the move was made out of a concern over potential legal action over prayers at public meetings. We were curious about how other governmental bodies in the area handle the openings of their meetings.
We discovered that, somewhat surprisingly, none of the Boards of Supervisors of any of the four counties here in northwest Iowa begin their meetings with a prayer or moment of silence.
O’Brien County Board Chairman Tom Farnsworth says meetings of the O’Brien County Board of Supervisors are opened simply by being called to order. That’s also how supervisor meetings in Sioux and Lyon counties begin, according to the Auditor’s Offices in those counties.
In Osceola County, their Auditor’s Office tells KIWA that they open their supervisor meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance, a practice that is also observed by the Sheldon City Council.
All of the county officials we talked to said that the practice they currently have in place has been standard operating procedure for their meetings for quite some time.