The top Republican in the Iowa House says all 150 lawmakers should stay in Des Moines until the Legislative Oversight Committee completes its investigation of a central Iowa job training program’s misuse of federal funds. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says legislators will continue to investigate until they “get to the bottom of this.”
There’ll be no “rush to judgment” according to Rants. One immediate concern for Rants, though, is state government dismissal policies. Governor Vilsack fired the top two administrators of the Workforce Development agency on Wednesday evening and a secretary to the deputy director was found early Thursday morning tossing documents in a dumpster.
“Standard operating procedure is when you terminate somebody, you’re going to secure their office space, their computer, their files and everything else,” Rants says. “I expect that’s what other employers do when they have to terminate employees. It is beyond me why that was not done.”
The controversy revolving around the Workforce Development agency has gripped the attention of all 150 legislators and noon-time hearings of the Oversight Committee this week attracted standing-room-only crowds.
Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, decided to begin his weekly newsletter with an observation about the way personal connections, money and politics were intertwined in this saga. “Destruction of evidence. People being fired. People missing,” Baudler observed. “This week can only be described as a combination of ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘The Sopranos.'”