The state auditor is rebuffing the governor’s suggestion that legislators should ask questions of him because one of his employees is married to one of the now-fired managers who pulled down a six-figure salary from a central Iowa job training program.
Governor Tom Vilsack said Monday morning that “additional questions” should be asked “in light of the disclosure” that John Bargman, the chief operating officer of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium is married to Deb Dessert, who works for the state auditor.
State Auditor Dave Vaudt issued an audit critical of the salary Dessert’s husband pulled down. “I would not expect any of my employees to tell me how much their spouse earns,” Vaudt says. Vaudt says Dessert approached him when the audit started to say her husband had told her he was being questioned. “Deb is an administrative person in my office. She serves as the professional development director and provides training and does campus recruiting, so obviously she was not privvy to any aspect of the investigation and wasn’t even aware of the investigation until informed about it by her husband,” Vaudt says.
The auditor says it’s not appropriate for the governor to try to direct attention away from his office and toward the auditor’s office. “The facts are the facts, as stated in our audit report,” Vaudt says. That report was issued March 31st and revealed the top three mangers of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium were each pulling in six-figure incomes from the federally-financed program, while getting excessive paid vacation and bonuses.