SECRET SETTLEMENTS: Is There A Mastermind?

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Governor Branstad strongly pushed back on Monday critics' claims he's not in charge of state government.

Top state officials had signed off on confidential agreements with dismissed state workers.

Iowans had been largely in the dark about two dozen settlements with dismissed state workers since Terry Branstad came back into office.

Now that what's inside them has come to light, critics have lit into the governor.

“This is beyond the pale,” former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge told Channel 13. “I just don't understand why governor Branstad would do this."

The documents reveal payments of nearly $500,000 to former employees.
But that’s not the only troubling aspect.

Department of Inspections and Appeals Director Rod Roberts' name is on the previously confidential document.

Mariannette Miller Meeks, who had been the director of the health department, signed it and the former Department of Natural Resources leader.

In all, people who hold top spots in a dozen different areas of state government put their signatures on the bottom of these settlements saying they agreed to the terms.

With the settlements being so widespread it begs the question -- if there are so many top officials at so many agencies, departments, and commissions scattered all throughout the state government, does that mean there's somebody in the middle who shared this information and told them how to do these settlements?

The governor claims no.

“There is no mastermind behind this. There were mistakes that were made contrary to the policy and the commitment of this administration to openness and transparency,” Gov. Branstad said.

The governor says he didn't tell his leaders to do it and didn't know they did it.

He grew the most animated yet since word of these settlements spread when asked if he's ultimately in charge of state government.

“You bet. And I’ve taken action. You bet. And the buck stops... first of all, let me say this. I have taken action of all of these incidents. I am the chief executive of this state. I take my responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of Iowans very personally,” the Governor said.

Senate Democrats hold oversight hearings at the statehouse Wednesday and Thursday regarding these settlements.


  • John Smith

    Liar and Thief he is stealing our money and claims he doesn’t know anything about it. Aren’t you supposed to be the Governor? I know Governor Christy ” I know nothing ” Get him out of office he’ s to old to be our Governor any way. Time for a change!!!!!!

  • Harry Moyer

    I say Brainsdead should do what will forever be known as a “Christy”.
    (1) Hire lawyers to investigate himself;
    (2) Pay said lawyers a million bucks of taxpayer monies to exonerate him;
    (3) Have Rudy “9-11” Giuliani vouch for the reports credibility.

  • John Anderson

    The only “action” appropriate and in concert with his past actions would be to either reduce the department heads pay by the amounts of the settlements they approved… Oh yeah, and not give them bonuses to offset the ‘punishment’. Everything he has done in response has been as empty and hollow as the ‘Emporers new clothes’. Fire them all Terry, otherwise the only thing transparent about you administration is your leadership!

  • JPenny

    Terry stopped short of saying “the buck stops here”, but it certainly does. You are supposed to be leading the state government Terry and if you are unaware of what is going on, you’re not doing your job. And like any job, if you’re not doing yours, your employer (us) will find someone that will!

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