Court rules in Bartram’s favor

Staff report

     The Iowa Court of Appeals upheld a decision from the Iowa District Court, granting unemployment benefits to former Monticello Parks and Recreation employee Tami Bartram.

     In February of 2017, Bartram’s employment with the City of Monticello ended, causing her to file for unemployment. The city resisted the filing, and Bartram was then denied.

      Bartram then appealed the decision through the Division of Labor, and then through an administrative law judge, who stated she should have been eligible for unemployment benefits.

     The city appealed that decision to the EAB (Employment Appeal Board), who affirmed what the law judge stated.

     The city appealed to District Court, who reviewed the legal record and affirmed the decision of the EAB.

     This ruling by the Court of Appeals is the city’s final appeal.

     However, City Administrator Doug Herman said the city could appeal yet again to the Iowa Supreme Court.

     “If we’re successful, we won’t take a hit with our unemployment insurance rate,” he explained. “We saw our rates increase because of this.”

     Herman said the city was not appealing against the unemployment benefits, but against the way in which she was awarded said benefits.

     “It’s a challenge to the legal conclusion,” he said.

     The city stated Bartram voluntarily quit her employment, which would make her ineligible for unemployment benefits. However, the court said evidence exists to show the city eliminated Bartram’s position.

     Herman said the city/city council chose to eliminate one job description and create two jobs within Parks and Rec: director and superintendent.

     “We offered her a new job and she turned it down,” he said. “We had every right to change job descriptions.” Herman said Bartram was offered the Parks and Rec superintendent job at the same hours, same job duties, and same rate of pay.

     Bartram was previously awarded unemployment benefits prior to this latest court decision.



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