Press Release

May 23, 2024

Timeline for the 28E Agency & Settlement Agreement between the City of West Liberty and the West Liberty Rural Fire District:


  • February 2021: The City of West Liberty (“City”) began to negotiate a new and updated 28E Agreement with the Rural Trustees that would be compliant with requirements of the state code, clarify roles and responsibilities for the Volunteer Fire Department, and improve the coordination of services by the two entities.
  • July 2021: The Rural Trustees elected to file a lawsuit against the City seeking, among other things, a permanent dissolution of the 28E Agreement and a distribution of certain assets related to the Volunteer Fire Department.
  • June 2022: The City, with the consent and participation of the Rural Trustees and the Volunteer Fire Department, formed a Mayor’s Fire/EMS Taskforce (“Taskforce”) with members of the City, the Rural Trustees and the Volunteer Fire Dept. being appointed to the Taskforce. The purpose of the Taskforce was meant to create open dialog and understanding with the intention of resolving litigation, while drafting a 28E Agency Agreement for each government entity to approve.
  • From June 2022 to Fall 2023: the Taskforce met regularly and worked diligently to draft and revise a 28E Agreement document and to address the issues to ensure quality fire service continued to be delivered to the public. The City requested to contract with Attorney Dan Morgan of Lynch Dallas, PC for professional guidance and legal requirements within the agreement, without any objection.
  • December 18, 2023: Iowa District Court for Muscatine County granted a continuation of trial. The continuation, as agreed by both parties, was a result of progress made in good faith and to afford the parties additional time to continue the efforts towards finalizing the new 28E Agency Agreement and finalize a settlement that would fully resolve the litigation between the parties.
  • February 2024: The City and Rural Trustees continued to work on a litigation settlement agreement with the assistance of their legal counsel, as well as finalize a draft agreement to enter a 28E Agency Agreement.
  • March 2024: The parties communicated with Attorney Dan Morgan regarding edits to the litigation settlement agreement and coordinating same with the draft the 28E Agency Agreement. The City also engaged its bond counsel to assist with questions regarding financial elements of the draft 28E Agency Agreement.
  • Early May 2024: The Attorney for Rural Trustees requested a meeting with Attorney Morgan to discuss logistics of implementing the 28E Agency Agreement. Since the litigation and litigation settlement agreement were still pending, a meeting was not immediately set up until the litigation questions could be resolved. The Attorney for the Rural Trustees then advised the City that the Rural District would proceed unilaterally with rescheduling litigation and that they were now questioning the City’s efforts in the negotiations. This is in direct contravention of what the City wants – the City has always expressed the desire to resolve our differences and allow a successfully agreed upon settlement and proceed forward with the necessary work towards a 28E Agency Agreement. The City also wants to ensure that a joint administrative agency is what all parties still desire before the agency is legally created. The City remains committed and positive to amicably resolving the dispute. The steps can be completed timely with both parties sharing communication and a resolution commitment for the greater good and safety of the communities being served.


Recently, the City of West liberty and its legal counsel have received an accusation, from the attorney for the Rural District, of reneging on good faith efforts to resolve this dispute and threats to pursue a public relations campaign to spread this falsehood. The City has never expressed an intention to withdraw from negotiation or renege on the efforts it has, in fact, worked hard over the last couple of years to try and amicably resolve outstanding issues. The process may not have proceeded as quickly as the parties wanted, but the seriousness and complexity of the issues, the change in council and Mayor seats this year, attorney schedules and court dates, and the task force committee chair withdrawing from the committee, have made concluding the matter on the desired timeline difficult. The City remains committed to the process of completing the 28E Agency Agreement and litigation settlement agreements.

(Article can also be found in the West Liberty Index)