Jamie Van Fossen

A former Republican legislator who led the tax-policy committee in the Iowa House has a new job — as a state employee.

Jamie Van Fossen of Davenport will be one of three members of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board. The state agency was created in 1974 to be a neutral arbiter in disputes about public employee contracts. The Iowa Senate voted 43-6 to confirm Van Fossen for the job. Senator Dennis Black, a Democrat from Grinnell, was one of the dissenters.

“I’ve heard frequently that we have a tradition of confirming anyone who has served in the House and Senate…If it’s true, then that’s wrong,” Black said. “…It smacks of political payback.”

Black also objected to the sizable salary, as Van Fossen will be paid $98,000 a year.

“Don’t you think that it’s time that we look at some of the salaries of some of these boards?” Black asked.

The chairman of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board is a former Democratic state senator and the other member is a lawyer. Van Fossen, who is now the third members of the board, served in the Iowa House from January of 1997 to January of 2009.

AUDIO of Senate discussion and vote.