An attorney for a troubled central Iowa job training program says there are questions about whether a former Des Moines City Councilman had the authority to approve the excessive salaries and bonuses for the agency’s top execs. Carlton Salmons has been legal counsel for the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium since 1979.

Salmons testified before a legislative panel Monday afternoon and said the by-laws he wrote for CIETC in 2002 have been altered to indicate former Des Moines City Councilman Archie Brooks had sole authority to approve the salaries and bonuses for three top CIETC managers.

“Obviously somebody put them in there and deleted other stuff and I’m telling you, I didn’t do it,” Salmons said. Salmons maintains Brooks had no authority to grant the six-figure salaries with lavish bonuses to CIETC managers.

Salmons urged members of the Legislative Oversight Committee to draw up new guidelines for agreements among cities and counties which spawn organizations like CIETC because the boards that end up overseeing such programs may not take their watch-dog role seriously enough.

“The problem is once these things get up and going, there is a great potential for abuse,” Salmons testified. Salmons suggests that agencies which get state or federal money be required to make their budgets — and the salaries of their employees — public records.

And Salmons proposed a state law that would make the board members which oversee agencies spending taxdollars to be held personally liable if spending abuses are discovered.