The central Iowa job-training agency that’s been surrounded by scandal since last March will basically be dissolved. The board of the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium met for hours on Thursday, and voted to find a new agency to handle the job training services, and finances, that CIETC has been accused of mismanaging.
Dave Neil is director of Iowa Workforce Development, the
state agency that was supposed to provide oversight to CIETC. Neil says he’s concerned service would deteriorate with the staff facing an uncertain date to be fired. Neil says it’s been five months since the scandal broke, and it’s time to find a permanent arrangement to deliver these services.
Neil’s been pressuring the CIETC board to hire new administrative staff, and says he’ll have funding withdrawn if changes aren’t ready by September first. Michael Smith, Vice-Chair of a CTETC advisory board, says they have little choice as a result. “This is a political thing now,” he says. Smith says he worries clients will suffer because of everything that’s gone on.
“We’re being basically blackmailed here into making some decisions that we don’t want to make.” The CIETC board will now start taking applications from other agencies to provide the job-training services. Smith says they’ll ask the new provider to retain the current CIETC staff.
“We have a terrific staff in place,” Smith says, explaining the current staff is familiar with the community and the services to be provided, and he thinks keeping them would provide continuity in delivering those services. Board member Jonathon Wilson says it’ll be almost impossible to make changes so quickly, in part because a 30-day public comment period is required.
Wilson also charged that the urgency to make changes quickly despite the law stems from a scandal the agency was responsible for. “There is nothing more self-righteous than the recently-reformed,” says Wilson, charging that that’s the reason behind the urgency to make sweeping changes by IWD, the state workforce development agency.
But the need for a change makes sense to Michael Galloway, who represents Polk County on the board. The county’s frozen its funding for the job-training agency until a new service provider is chosen.
Galloway says there’s a lot of stigma to the name CIETC, adding “We have to go in a different direction.” Galloway says under the current system the eight counties served by CIETC are liable when the agency mis-spends federal job training money. He says once a new service provider is in place, that provider will bear the liability, instead of local governments.
The Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium came under fire after a state audit revealed that three top executives were paid lavish salaries and bonuses, and they were later fired.