The secretary found dumping documents early the morning after her boss in the Workforce Development agency was fired testified before a legislative committee today (Tuesday).
Laurie Rieck’s boss — former Workforce Development deputy director Jane Barto — lost her job because of the scandal involving a central Iowa job training program. Rieck says she had no idea her early morning office cleaning would lead to an investigation. “First of all, I did not know there was a federal investigation going on at that time and no, it did not come to my mind,” Rieck told legislators. “Maybe it should have. I was pretty emotional that both of my bosses had been let go.”
Rieck says she decided to come in before six because it would be easier to clear things without having to stop and answer the phones that ring during regular business hours. Rieck says she had no idea her early morning activities would raise questions. “I didn’t stop to think what people might perceive,” Rieck says.
Rieck says she often goes into work early and legislators asked her to tell them how often she makes it a habit to show up for work over two hours early. “I don’t know. Numerous times,” she replied. “I’ve worked for the state for 19 years.”
Rieck put documents to toss in boxes, and gave the boxes to a janitor who was working early, too. “There were about 25 to 30 boxes and they were like the paper boxes, like the copier paper comes in,” Rieck says. “I did not put them in the dumpster. I put them in the trash barrel.”
Rieck says it was the janitor who tossed the boxes in the dumpster. Rieck says no one directed her to throw away the documents she boxed up for the trash, and she says none of the documents she tried to toss were related to the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium that’s been at the center of controversy after a whistleblower revealed the consortium’s top managers made extravagant six-figure incomes.
Rieck’s attorney, Helen Adams, says Rieck is no longer being investigated by state or federal authorities. “I don’t believe she ever was a target,” Adams says. “The U.S. Attorneys office has interviewed Laurie and advised us that they are not looking at her as a target…with respect to their investigation anyway.”
Adams says her client didn’t do anything wrong and wants to go back to work. “We hope that’s what she’s allowed to do,” Adams says.