Governor Terry Branstad has asked a retired Iowa Supreme Court justice to review the firing of the state agent who reported the governor’s vehicle was speeding in April.
Branstad said last week’s firing of Larry Hedlund, a 25-year veteran in the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, was justified and had no connection to the speeding incident, but this morning the governor announced he’s asked retired Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Louis Lavorato to conduct an “independent review” of Hedlund’s firing and release his findings to the public.
“The governor supports the decision made by the Department of Public Safety and is confident it’s the right decision, but the governor’s also been able to view the whole report,” says Tim Albrecht, Branstad’s communications director. “So what the governor wants is for Iowans to be able to have the whole, entire truth.”
Branstad last week called on Hedlund to agree to release a confidential, 500-page report so the public could read the reasons behind Hedlund’s firing. Hedlund is suing, charging his firing was in retaliation to his role in reporting a speeding vehicle that turned out to be carrying the governor. According to Albrecht, the Hedlund case may take “a number of years” to resolve in court.
“By appointing Chief Justice Lavorato to conduct this independent review, we can finally have some finality and Iowans can know the whole truth,” Albrecht told Radio Iowa this morning.
Branstad is a Republican. Lavorato is a registered Democrat.
“Former Chief Justice Louis Lavorato is known within the legal community for his integrity and his legal acumen and impartial judgement and the governor just believes this is a way to put to rest any ongoing allegations of retaliation that have been floating around,” Albrecht said.
Branstad appointed Lavorato to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1986. Lavorato served as the court’s chief justice from 2000 until 2006, when he retired.