from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Stuart P.
Ward appeals the district court's denial of his motion to
dismiss. REVERSED AND REMANDED.
M. Messamer and Alfredo G. Parrishof Parrish Kruidenier
L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Aaron J. Rogers, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Vaitheswaran, JJ.
appeal requires us to determine whether a charge of felonious
misconduct in office may be premised on an ordinance that was
not properly repealed.
Background Facts and Proceedings
Ward was terminated from his long-term position as West
Liberty city manager. The State subsequently charged him with
felonious misconduct in office in connection with an
instruction he allegedly gave to bill utility customers
pursuant to a rate prescribed by a 1998 ordinance rather than
a 2007 ordinance.The 1998 ordinance set electricity rates
"based upon a Cost of Purchased Energy Index of 2.4
cents per KW-HR." See West Liberty, Iowa,
Ordinance No. 9-98 (Dec. 15, 1998). The 2007 ordinance
"repeal[ed] ordinance 1-87, 11-88, and 9-93"-but
not ordinance 9-98-and set forth utility "rates . . .
based upon a Cost of Purchased Energy Index of 3.1¢ per
kWh." See West Liberty, Iowa, Ordinance 2007-01
(June 15, 2007). The 2007 cost of purchased energy index
effectively lowered the rate charged to utility customers. By
reverting to the 1998 index, West Liberty charged a higher
State did not assert Ward pocketed the overage, which was
ultimately refunded to customers. The State simply charged
that Ward's reliance on the 1998 ordinance amounted to
falsification of a public record. See Iowa Code
§ 721.1(2) (2015).
moved to dismiss the charge. He asserted "[a]ny action
based on [the 1998 ordinance] [was] fundamentally legal"
because that ordinance was still in effect. The State
countered by asserting, "The fact that the price [for
electrical service] was changed [in the 2007 ordinance] means
that the 1998 ordinance was repealed."
ruling on the motion, the district court mentioned the
State's concession "that as of the date when the
criminal activity [was] alleged, the City of West Liberty had
not enacted an ordinance which specifically repealed
Ordinance 9-98." The court nonetheless denied the motion
to dismiss the felonious misconduct charge, reasoning,
"The only manner in which one can logically harmonize
the two ordinances in this matter is to interpret Ordinance
2007-01 to be an enactment to amend and change the electrical
rate charged by the City of West Liberty."
filed an application for interlocutory appeal and
discretionary review, which the Iowa Supreme Court granted.