Governor Terry Branstad says he has no concerns about the work environment at the Iowa Veterans Home after revelations that five workers were fired and 13 others were disciplined for misconduct.
“I want to give credit to Jodi Tymeson, the commandant of the Veterans Home, because there were people doing inappropriate things and she took decisive action and dismissed them,” Branstad says.
Allegations of bullying and sexual harassment against the home’s previous commandant were aired during legislative hearings. One former staffer said he tried to file a complaint, but an aide in Branstad’s personnel department discouraged him from becoming a whistleblower. Branstad accused critics of former Commandant David Worley of engaging in a political witch hunt. Worley resigned last October and was replaced by Tymeson.
“I fully support Jodi Tymeson,” Branstad says. “She’s a retired general from the National Guard. She served in the legislature. She’s very well-respected from the veterans and we don’t want inappropriate things being done by employees of the Veterans Home and I think she’s made it clear that that’s not going to be tolerated.”
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports a male worker was fired this July after a female employee complained he repeatedly showed her pictures of a porn star and adults engaging in sex, despite her request that he stop. Another worker was fired for taunting another employee. The investigation, which apparently involved interviews with 100 of the home’s employees, was not disclosed until fired workers applied for and were denied unemployment benefits by an administrative law judge.