Liz Mathis

Liz Mathis

Senate Democrats are pressing for a state audit of the confidential settlements to laid-off state workers that Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s managers approved.

Branstad on Monday said he had no knowledge of the secret deals and the governor banned their use in the future. Twelve state agencies struck secrecy deals with 24 workers who challenged their dismissals.  Senator Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Robins, says it’s time for an audit to discover where those agencies found nearly half a million dollars to pay off the fired workers.

“I take this oversight of this budget very seriously and these are taxpayer dollars,” Mathis says.

Mathis and other Democrats on a budget subcommittee have voted to set aside $30,000 for an audit to figure out how agencies were able to shift money around.

“We need to do our jobs and monitor where taxpayer dollars are going and  I think that this audit is necessary in this area,” Mathis says.

Republicans objected, saying a different legislative panel — the Legislature’s Oversight Committee — should investigate rather than the auditor. Governor Branstad told reporters on Monday that State Auditor Mary Mosiman (MOHZ-man) has decided her staff will start asking state agencies in future audits if any confidential pay-outs have been made to employees.