Governor Tom Vilsack is seeking to deflect attention from his office onto the state auditor’s office in the scandal involving a central Iowa job training program.
One of the managers of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium who pulled down a six-figure salary is married to an employee in the state auditor’s office, and Vilsack made note of that this (Monday) morning when speaking with reporters. “I’m not quite sure what other questions can be asked of our office,” Vilsack said. “I think that there are probably some additional questions that can be asked of other offices — the auditor’s office in light of the disclosure over the weekend of Ms. Dessert’s relationship.”
John Bargman, the chief operating officer of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium, received over three-quarters of a million dollars in salary and bonuses in the past 30 months. Bargman is married to Deb Dessert, an administrative aide in the state auditor’s office.
Vilsack says he knew nothing about the excessive salaries until the auditor’s report was released March 31st. Vilsack’s chief of staff, Cynthia Eisenhauer, was alerted to the auditor’s investigation in early March, but the governor says she did not know and could not find out about the salaries. “At the end of the day, I think we ought to let the federal investigation do what it’s gonna do and if there are additional steps that need to be taken as a result of that, we are certainly prepared to take it but I think we ought to be focused on the people’s business right now,” Vilsack told reporters.