November 21, 2014

Senate Democrats pass bill dealing with variety of state personnel issues

Janet Petersen

Janet Petersen

Democrats in the Iowa Senate have approved a bill that deals with a wide range state personnel management issues like the so-called “do not hire” list as well as confidential settlements with laid off state workers. Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the bill’s a response to “shocking” revelations about “hush money” payments to laid-off employees and flaws in the so-called “black list.”

“This is not a time for half-measures. This is not a time for band-aides,” Petersen said. “There are serious, systemic problems with our state government. Iowans deserve better. Taxpayers deserve clean government.”

Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix says the bill is flawed because it fails to call for disclosing the reasons state workers are fired.

“We’ve heard a lot in this whole debate and over the last 30, 40 days, but one thing bears repeating: Iowa taxpayers shoulder the whole bill of government — they deserve the whole story,” Dix says.

The bill does put Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s executive order in state law, to prohibit any future confidential settlements with state workers. A bill that cleared the Iowa House earlier did the same thing, but the Senate bill also includes protections for whistleblowers and a new appeals process and required notification for workers existing state government who are put on the “do not hire” list.