Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle says Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s rejecting Nussle’s idea of an independent state inspector general for partisan reasons.
Nussle called for creation of an inspector general as part of the state response to mismanagement of a central Iowa job training program. “The governor is really acting, I think, in a very partisan way about the suggestion of an I.G. It sounds as though Iowans want better accountability in their government. This is not an extra bureaucratic layer, in fact, I’m sure that we can make this fit,” Nussle says. “It’d not only be good for accountability but save us the costs that we’re going through now.”
Vilsack has dismissed the idea, which is modeled on the federal office, saying the Pentagon still buys six-hundred dollar hammers. Vilsack also says the state can move to strengthen current channels of oversight without adding another layer of bureaucracy. “I believe it’s a good idea and I don’t think it should be just dismissed in a partisan way,” Nussle says. “I think it’s a real solution and if you don’t have a solution, you shouldn’t complain.”
A woman who used to work in the state agency that oversaw the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium told the Des Moines Register this week that she sent an anonymous letter to several officials, including Governor Vilsack, outlining the CIETC salary abuses. Vilsack’s staff says anonymous letters sent to Vilsack’s attention are not kept.
Nussle says he doesn’t find it “unusual” that an unsigned letter is not given the same attention or weight as a signed letter. Nussle says that’s why it’s so “frustrating” that Vilsack’s rejecting the idea of an inspector general because whistleblowers like the former Workforce Development official who sent that anonymous letter in 2004 could have gone to an inspector general with her concerns.
Nussle’s a congressman, and all of the letters that are sent to him — both signed and unsigned — are now scanned digitally by a central post office and sent to a computer in his office. That’s in response to the anthrax scare.