Key state officials say some of the pay problems in the Iowa Workforce Development agency that were identified in a mid-May report are still unresolved.
Iowa Department of Administrative Services director Molly Anderson says they’re sorting through paperwork and trying to determine if some workers are due the pay they’ve been getting. “Whenever you employ 19,000 people…you have a huge job of getting everybody’s classification right, ensuring that everybody is properly hired, that all promotions and pay actions are documented in the way that you want,” Anderson says. “This is not the first time that something like this has occured…Keep the scope of this in mind, that this is a small number that were found in a department that employs a lot of people.”
Anderson stops short of saying that top Iowa Workforce Development administrators — who’ve been fired — falsified records, but she says not all of the necessary records are there to “support some of the pay actions” that were made, some of which are still in effect. “We believe that we’ve identified all of the areas where we have issues where they have not followed all the appropriate paperwork or provided the right documentation,” Anderson says.
On April 5th, Governor Tom Vilsack fired the top two administrators in Workforce Development and appointed Dave Neil interim director of the agency. Neil says he’s frustrated about all the negative publicity directed at his agency because of the scandal at a central Iowa job training program the state Workforce Development agency was to oversee. “You’ve got a lot of good people in this agency doing a lot of good work,” Neil says.
Neil, who was State Labor Commissioner when the scandal broke, says he unleashed an expletive-laced tirade at now-fired Workforce Development director Richard Running for the way he was running the agency. “My outrage is gone,” Neil says. “Now, it’s the shoulder to the wheel.”
Anderson says in “some” cases, pay problems in the Workforce Development agency have been corrected but in “other” cases they’re still trying to determine whether the employee is due the pay they’re still getting. With some of the supervisors who made those pay decisions fired, it’s been difficult to track according to Anderson.
One person who was being paid to be an administrator but was been ordered to work in a state office building and Neil says they’re in the process of downgrading that person’s pay, but it’s taking time because “civil service” rules have to be followed. “We’ve just got to wait for the clock to run,” Neil says.
Anderson says this has been an unfortunate episode. “The outrage that I have is that it’s taken the light away from the many people who do their jobs really well and work hard,” Anderson says.