DES MOINES, Iowa–The head of Iowa Workforce Development fights back against claims of political bias but admits improvement is needed within the agency.
Wednesday afternoon Teresa Wahlert faced the Senate Oversight Committee and testified under oath.
After a full day of complaints about her leadership style, Wahlert finally had the opportunity to respond.
Wahlert said complaints that she pressured judges to rule a certain way simply aren’t true.
Former employees also complained about changes Wahlert implemented a IWD.
Wahlert says the changes were intended to reduce costs and increase efficiency and acknowledged not everyone was happy about it.
“I know that some personalities adapt to change easier and quicker and more readily than others, but I believe my management style is direct,” says Wahlert.
State Sen. Matt McCoy says the work environment at IWD has become dysfunctional under Wahlert’s leadership.
“I think it starts at the top and works its way down through the system, obviously we heard from employees who were concerned about moral. I tried to relay to the Director where there is smoke there is fire, let`s get after this let`s try and address those concerns,” says Sen. McCoy.
Wahlert says she plans to do just that and says the oversight hearings have helped her identify problems within IWD.
“I really value diversity of opinion and people every day give me comments both good and areas to improve on and I saw that happen in the last two days and I appreciate all that input,” says Wahlert.
The Senate Oversight Committee has no more hearings scheduled on this topic, but lawmakers subpoena powers last until the end of the year.
A report is expected to be complete this Fall.