Department of Administration Services Director Mike Carroll was let go hours after emails showed money was paid to a former state worker to keep quiet.
Both Carroll and his boss, Governor Branstad had been adamant that dismissed state workers were not paid in exchange for their silence.
Now, we know that at least one of those people was.
Carol Frank told the Legislative Oversight Committee she was just a few years from retirement when the Department of Administrative Services let her go in 2011.
“I was 62-years-old when I was laid off.”
She also told lawmakers she was paid to keep quiet about her termination, something DAS Director Mike Carroll denied when he appeared before the Oversight Committee last week.
“For the agreements that I signed and for the agreements that our department was involved in, there would not have been hush money offered,” said Carroll.
We now know that’s not true. In fact, emails indicate DAS offered Frank so-called hush money.
Frank’s attorney responded to the offer in an email dated March 7, 2013. It reads, “Ms Frank accepts your offer to add the confidentiality provision for payment of an additional $6,500. Please send us a revised agreement and we will begin getting signatures.”
DAS attorney, Ryan Lamb responds, “Excellent. Will do.”
Four days later, Dir. Carroll signed the settlement agreement.
Senator Janet Petersen, who chairs the Oversight Committee, has called for an extensive investigation.
“This is my 14th year and really, this is the first time I’ve seen anything like this,” said Petersen.
Petersen wants two other top DAS officials, Doug Woodley and Paul Carlson, placed on unpaid administrative leave. She’s also asked Governor Branstad to bring in the state police to secure and seize relevant DAS documents.
Petersen believes payments for confidentiality agreements extend beyond DAS.
“I believe it extends to multiple agencies under the Branstad administration.”
She also suspects there are problems with the Branstad administration’s contracting and hiring practices.
“I believe the hush money is just the tip of the iceberg.”