Governor Branstad says he may layoff more than 200 employees in the Iowa Workforce Development agency to deal with the aftermath of an Iowa Supreme Court ruling.
The court ruled Branstad overstepped his item veto authority by taking money legislators set aside to keep regional Workforce Development offices open and, instead, using the money elsewhere and shut the offices down. Branstad’s spokesman says the blame for the layoff rests with Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61 — the union that represents the largest share of state workers, who joined the lawsuit challenging Branstad’s item veto.
“What started as an attempt by Danny Homan to prevent the implementation of a new, streamlined service delivery system that has proven to serve Iowans even better has now, as a result of Homan’s lawsuit, put at risk all of the services our state provides to unemployed Iowans and hundreds of stat workers’ jobs,” Tim Albrecht, the governor’s spokesman, said in a written statement.
Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, is one of the state senators who joined the lawsuit challenging Branstad’s decision and Dotzler says he’s shocked by the governor’s threat to close all Workforce Development offices.
“You know, that’s kind of a na-na-na, childish type of way of dealing with something. I mean, I’m very disappointed in it. It’s all about winning and not taking care of people,” Dotzler says. “We’ve still got 90,000 people out of work in Iowa.”
According to Dotzler, legislators are willing to sit down with the governor to develop an emergency plan that would keep the agency operating. Dotzler says he hopes Branstad cools off and backs down from his ultimatum.
“I’m not going to play that game with him,” Dotzler says. “You’re not going to see me out there, tap-dancing around going, ‘I whipped the governor.'”
Dotzler is co-chairman of the panel that drafts the budget for the Iowa Workforce Development Agency. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled the governor’s item veto in this instance was unconstitutional, but the court’s ruling also struck down the section of the law that set aside more than $8.5 million for the operation of Workforce Development field offices and other functions in the agency.