Two Investigations Now Set Into State Agency After Leader Fired
DES MOINES, Iowa–Sexual harassment claims and money questions are fueling two separate, independent investigations into the Iowa Finance Authority. On Monday, Governor Kim Reynolds confirmed that the second investigation is now planned for how the IFA spent money during the tenure of former executive director David Jamison.
The Des Moines Register published a story last week that included Democratic critics who questioned Jamison’s decision to move the agency’s operations from its state-owned facility to one that it would lease, as well as concerns over whether there was sufficient oversight into the agency’s spending practices.
Last Friday, the governor announced the first review to look at the workplace environment of the agency.
The governor fired Jamison on March 24th, a day after she said she received a letter that contained what she called “credible evidence” from one of Jamison’s employees, who claimed that he had sexually harassed and propositioned her.
The letter contained graphic and specific details that the woman provided about her time working with Jamison, including business trips.
Another employee also made claims of improper behavior but the governor has declined to say what those claims were. Reynolds contends that she promised confidentiality to the women and that was why she wouldn’t divulge the nature of the complaints.
The governor had previously declined to call for any additional investigation into the IFA. Last Thursday during an interview with Channel 13 News–where she said she was “disgusted” upon hearing the allegations against Jamison–she did not make any call for further review of IFA. She didn’t the next morning with a group of reporters either. But Friday afternoon, she changed course and asked for the review.
Reynolds told reporters Monday morning, “It’s really important that if you’re going to change the culture in state government–which I have said that we are going to do–that if the victim requests confidentiality that we honor that.”
“I wasn’t going to break their confidence,” she later added.
Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, of Des Moines, and House Minority Leader Mark Smith, of Marshalltown, who have both criticized the governor’s handling of the Jamison scandal sent out a letter demanding that the independent review contain certain provisions.
The letter read in part: “The fallout from the firing of David Jamison should be a wakeup call to you and other state leaders. There is a reckoning in our country on the issue of workplace harassment. You have a choice: Do something serious to address this problem in your Administration or be on the wrong side of history.”