A former state government attorney says he warned his boss and the governor’s chief of staff that at least one confidential settlement agreement with a terminated employee may have included money in exchange for silence. Ryan Lamb today told legislators his warning came before his boss denied in public that extra money had been paid to terminated employees who promised to keep the details of their exit packages secret.
“As this issue continued to be of importance and I was forced to think about it more and more, I called the director…and I let him know that I was concerned about email correspondence,” Lamb said today.
Lamb left his job as legal counsel for the Iowa Department of Administrative Services just before the issue became a matter of public debate. Mike Carroll, the director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services who was fired by the governor after telling legislators no “hush money” payments had been made, is accusing legislators of political grandstanding.
“I am beyond disappointed and disillusioned that honest, hardworking Iowans, including myself, are having their reputations and integrity questioned and having their personal lives negatively impacted in the name of politics,” Carroll said today.
Carroll, who testified before the Senate Oversight Committee, said confidential settlements were “standard operating procedure” in state government long before he arrived in 2011 and he objects to the phrase “hush money.”
“Terms used around settlement agreements are inaccurate and those using them and reacting to them are simply making political hay,” Carroll said.
After the agency’s former attorney warned Carroll there might be some documentation extra money had been offered in exchange for silence from terminated employees, Carroll said he asked the agency’s new legal counsel to review “thousands” of emails and documents to see if that was the case and no documents were found. That attorney, Janet Phipps, is now the agency’s director.
Ultimately, it was an attorney who represented a terminated state employee who released email which documented the state’s payment of extra money for his client if she agreed to keep details of her exit package secret.