The man who’s suing the governor for cutting his salary appeared before a legislative committee this afternoon, citing a raft of statistics about the state agency he manages.
Governor Branstad asked Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey to resign last year. When Godfrey refused to do so, Branstad reduced his annual salary by $36,000. Godfrey spoke with reporters following his testimony before the House Labor Committee.
“It was an opportunity for me to show some of the good things that are going on within the agency, show the efficiencies that we’ve had, show the fairness of the agency,” Godfrey said. “I think there’s been some accusations that cloud that, but we were certainly able to prove that we’re on the right side of that.”
AUDIO of Godfrey’s appearance before the House Labor Committee.
Governor Branstad has hired a Des Moines attorney to represent him, as Godfrey is suing for a million dollars in damages, accusing Branstad of trying to force him out of the job because Godfrey is gay. Someone from the law firm Branstad hired videotaped Godfrey’s remarks to the House Labor Committee. Godfrey told reporters he felt no extra pressure.
“It would be pressure if the work that I’ve done before the agency was not positive, but I think it’s quite universally a good thing that I’ve done to the agency and I think it’s in a better place and I think the statistics of the agency prove that the work that we’re doing is quite effective,” Godfrey said. “And, you know, I’m proud of the work that we’re doing.”
Roxanne Conlin, Godfrey’s attorney, sat by his side during today’s meeting in case a legislator asked about the lawsuit, but the subject was never raised. Godfrey cited statistics indicating the agency has reduced its backlog of appeals since 2006, when Godfrey was appointed to the post by Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack.
Republican Governor Terry Branstad has said business owners have complained to him about the way Godfrey’s running the agency and that’s why he asked Godfrey to resign. Last week Branstad said he is “not satisfied” with Godfrey’s job performance and the governor said his staff has compiled “a number” of cases in which Godfrey has been “biased against business.”