One of the handfull of bills lawmakers drafted and passed Wednesday calls for more protections for Iowa whistleblowers who reveal misuse of taxpayer dollars.
Senator Tom Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington, says the accountant who blew the whistle on the scandalous pay for managers of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium was protected by a union contract, or he probably wouldn’t have come forward. The bill, then, gives similar protections to government workers and employees of agencies that receive government money so they can come forward to reveal potential spending abuses. “I’m pretty happy with it and I think the public will see it as a good bill,” Courtney says. “It was a good, bipartisan effort.”
Senator Ron Wieck, a Republican from Sioux City, says the bill hopefully sends a message. “I would hope that employees and people (who) are involved in (blowing the whistle on) anything like the CIETC scandal in the future will see that the Iowa Legislature will stand behind them,” Wieck says.
The legislature also passed a resolution ensuring lawmakers have subpeona power to compel witnesses to appear before the Legislative Oversight Committee. That’s the panel which has been examining the executive pay scandal at the central Iowa job training program. Wieck says they’ve been fortunate because all of the folks they’ve asked to testify have so far have done so voluntarily, but that subpeona power may be used to summon a top CIETC manager they’ve been unable to contact by certified letter. “We will use it if we have to, but it’ll be a last resort,” Wieck says.
Wieck and Courtney are co-chairs of the Legislative Oversight Committee.