Some Republican senators say they’ve heard from whistleblowers within the Iowa Department of Public Safety who’ve expressed concerns about the agency’s commissioner. Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat, swore Gene Meyer in as Public Safety Commissioner a few weeks ago, but 18 Republican senators voted this past week to block Meyer’s nomination to the post.
Senator Jeff Angelo, a Republican from Creston, is among those who voted against Meyer, citing concerns raised by department employees. Angelo says Republicans suggest Meyer be allowed to serve as interim director for a year, giving him a chance to prove the naysayers wrong. Angelo and other Republicans are unwilling to reveal the exact concerns raised by employees in the Department of Public Safety.
Senator Larry McKibben, a Republican from Marshalltown, says they want to protect the identities of those who’ve complained about Meyer. "We are not going to reveal names and discuss concerns….Those are confidences and things that are brought to us," McKibben says.
"I think it’s terribly unfair to go out and release the kind of information that might damage a person’s career." But Meyer’s supporters say his 40-year career in law enforcement is being tarnished by the Republican senators’ allegations, which have not been publicly revealed.
Senate Republican Leader Mary Lundby of Marion scoffs at that. "We’re not dragging people through the dirt. We had concerns," Lundby says. "…We will continue to work on a compromise or a solution with the governor." Senate leaders from both political parties and the governor are talking this weekend about Meyer’s appointment, which must be confirmed by 34 of the 50 senators.