Exodus of Iowa Administrative Law Judges ‘Unprecedented’

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A former administrative law judge has come out criticizing the recently retired Iowa Workforce Development director.

On Friday, Teresa Wahlert informed the governor of her plan to retire, effective Sunday.

The abrupt announcement came after at least two lawsuits were filed accusing Wahlert of trying to influence the decisions of administrative law judges in the workers’ compensation division.

Wahlert also came under scrutiny by the legislative oversight committee, which accused her of creating a hostile work environment.

Wahlert testified that she did nothing wrong and that her style is direct.

Former administrative law judge Marlon Mormann said, however, he was told to change his decision.

"I was flat out told that I need to change my decisions, in what we call involuntary quit cases. Cases where people are told, ‘if you do not quit we are going to fire you,’” Mormann told Channel 13.

Mormann said that he left earlier this month because he was burned out.

"We've lost half of our judges in a year, which is unprecedented," Mormann said. "I've been there for 24 years. I have never seen any kind of exodus like this from experienced judges."

He said that with so many experienced judges leaving, the most experienced judges left spend most of their time helping the inexperienced judges.

The governor has defended Wahlert and in a statement cited Wahlert’s energy and passion to serve Iowans.

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