Iowa Makes Secret Payouts to Ex-Workers
All were asked to sign confidentiality agreements that would have kept the settlements out of public view, according to documents obtained by The Des Moines Register and interviews with the ex-state workers.
The state denies that the workers’ positions were cut as political moves, saying the jobs were eliminated as part of a reorganization that saves the state about $730,000 a year.
But in grievance complaints filed before the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board and interviews with the Register, the former employees say their complaints and settlements show evidence of systematic efforts by Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration to embrace widespread Republican cronyism.
“They are like a group of renegades,” said Carol Frank, a former construction and design engineer who was laid off in September 2011. “They just didn’t care about anyone else or about rules or law. They were just hiring their friends.”
The settlements were shuffled through state agencies, avoiding the typical process of being approved by and made public through the Iowa Appeal Board.