Governor Kim Reynolds did not notify Besler or file the paperwork for the appointment until a few days after the deadline for making the appointment. Reynolds says she told her chief of staff Besler was her choice in mid-June, but didn’t have time to call Besler because she was traveling to view storm damage. George Appleby is a long-time Des Moines attorney and Democratic Party activist.
“Judge Besler’s legitimacy is really at question here,” Appleby says.
Under Iowa law, governors have 30 days to make an appointment after getting a slate of candidates for open judgeships. The chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court is to make the appointment if the governor fails to meet that deadline. A spokesman for Chief Justice Mark Cady says Cady accepts Governor Reynolds’ explanation that she met the 30-day deadline by telling her staff.
Besler was an assistant Linn County Attorney for 18 years. He filled a vacancy created last September when Judge Marsha Bergan retired. Judicial vacancies have been held open for at least six months lately due to state budget constraints.
(By Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell)