The head of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board is recommending Iowa’s ethics laws be revamped and clarified in the wake of the pay scandal at a central Iowa job training program. Charlie Smithson says the rules on the books aren’t clear enough about some of the factors that came into play in the Central Iowa Employment and Training salary investigation. “When your ethics guy’s not really sure who some of the ethics laws apply to, I think it’s something the legislature probably needs to look at and clarify for everybody.” Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, says the next step should be writing legislation that bans all bonuses for people hired to work at government and quasi-government agencies. “If people got a salary, period, and worked within that salary, we wouldn’t be here,” Baudler says. He charges that bonuses for some workers brought the pay scandal to the point where it was discovered. Baudler says he’d like to see anti-bonus legislation drafted in time for a special session this summer, but if it’s not he still wants it on the table for the regular legislative session in January. “If it’s written right, I would almost dare someone to vote against it.” Baudler knows a bonus was part of the agreement when Mike Blouin was hired to be state economic development director and he concedes it’s a challenge to hire good state agency leaders when the private industry offers higher pay than the state’s allowed to offer.
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