Two top managers in the Iowa Department of Administrative Services testified before legislators for nearly two hours this afternoon, promising by the end of the week to provide an analysis of the salary savings in their agency from a reorganization initiated more than 32 months ago. Senator Sandy Greiner, a Republican from Washington, Iowa, also asked for the actual savings from having private companies rather than the team of laid-off state employees oversee state construction projects.
“I was surprised that they didn’t have the information ready to slap on the table and knock our socks off,” Greiner told reporters after the meeting.
Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, said she, too, was surprised the agency only has a handwritten analysis of projected salary savings rather than a spread sheet showing the actual savings in both salaries and construction costs.
“I think that they should have those documents readily available and I’m surprised they’re not ready to go with it,” Petersen told reporters.
Legislators are also trying to find out where the agency found the extra money to pay the confidential settlements. Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, says he’s uncovered documents which show the agency improperly dipped into a pool of federal funds to cover the exit settlement for one of the laid-off workers.
“There’s detailed confidential reprimands…where they were advised they had to repay that energy loan back to the federal government,” McCoy said after today’s meeting.
A spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services told Radio Iowa the agency covered a laid off employee’s nearly $71,000 confidential settlement with interest earned on the energy fund as well as payments made to the agency by units of state and local government that got money from the energy program.
The Legislature’s Oversight Committee will meet again Tuesday morning to discuss these and other issues. Republicans, including Governor Branstad, have accused Democrats in the legislature of engaging in “political theater” in these meetings. On Monday the Iowa Republican Party’s chairman asked for all the email three Democrats in the state senate had sent or received about the investigation. The secretary of the senate has denied the request, saying it has not been the senate’s custom to classify the email senators send and receive as public documents.