The scandal over confidential settlement agreements and allegations of hush money for ex-state employees continues.
Tuesday night, Mike Carroll, the head of the Department of Administrative Services was fired by Gov. Terry Branstad. Carroll had originally testified before the Senate Oversight Committee last week, saying fired state workers were not offered additional money in exchange for keeping their settlements confidential.
Tuesday, e-mails were released that contradicted that information. They show a worker was offered $6,500 to keep her settlement confidential. Mike Carroll’s signature was on the documents approving the settlement.
After learning of the new information, Branstad fired Carroll. In a statement Branstad said, “I terminated Director Carroll today because new facts directly contradict what he told me and what he stated before the Government Oversight Committee. This is unacceptable.”
Another Senate Oversight Hearing was hastily scheduled for Wednesday morning, but has been canceled.
According to Democratic state senator Janet Petersen, “Governor Branstad’s office contacted me this morning and said that Michelle Minnehan, Human Resources Enterprise Chief Operating Officer, Department of Administrative Services, is ‘not prepared’ to answer our questions today.”
Petersen is the chair of the committee and has asked for an outside investigation into the scandal involving confidential settlements.
She has also asked the governor to have the Iowa State Patrol secure the paper and electronic records related to the incident to prevent them from being destroyed or modified. In addition, Petersen wants Dough Woodley and Paul Carlson, both DAS officials, placed on unpaid administrative leave during the investigation.
In response to Petersen’s request, Gov. Branstad says he doesn’t believe both Woodley or Carlson should be placed on paid leave. He says only the people who were directly involved in the incident should be considered for paid leave. The Governor pointed the finger at the Department of Administrative Services Legal Consultant, Ryan Lamb.
However, Lamb hasn’t worked for the state for 6 months.
The witness scheduled to testify today will testify before the committee next Monday.