The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

March 17, 2014

State of Iowa made secret payouts to ex-workers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state of Iowa has paid more than $282,000 in secret settlements to six former employees over the last three years.

All were asked to sign confidentiality agreements that would have kept the settlements out of public view, according to the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/1hoTbPf ). The settlements then were shuffled through state agencies, avoiding the typical process of being approved by and made public through the Iowa State Appeal Board.

The newspaper obtained them through Iowa's open-records law.

The employees held positions ranging from a public health supervisor to a design engineer. They were considered merit-based employees, which gives them the ability to move into other available state jobs ahead of workers with less experience. The workers contend they would have kept their jobs if the state hadn't violated workplace employment practices.

The newspaper found most of the settlements had tightly worded confidentially clauses to prohibit the former employees from discussing the settlements, or the facts and circumstances that led to their payout.

The state offered two former employees thousands of dollars more if they would sign agreements mandating their secrecy. Carol Frank, a former construction and design engineer who was laid off in September 2011, said she received an additional $5,000 for agreeing to a confidentiality clause.

Confidentiality clauses are discouraged by the U.S. Department of Justice because they quash openness in government. The American Bar Association in 2012 discouraged confidentiality in settlements, saying they're "bad for clients, bad for lawyers and bad for the legal system" because they "prohibit the public from knowing about systemic wrongful conduct."

Geoff Greenwood, a spokesman for the Iowa attorney general, said his office was not involved in writing the settlement agreements. The attorney general's office believes the confidentiality clauses are not enforceable under Iowa law because the settlements are public records, Greenwood said.

Dean Ibsen, another former construction engineer for the state, said he refused to sign an agreement that included a confidentiality clause, even though representatives of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services offered him more money.

------

Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

1
Text Only
AP Iowa
  • Propane suppliers: buy ahead to avoid price spikes DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — State officials and propane suppliers are advising consumers to fill their tanks before cold weather arrives because prices could climb again this winter. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1obSe2U ) prices will

    July 23, 2014

  • Woman convicted of murder in Des Moines stabbing DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A woman has been convicted of stabbing to death a 28-year-old man in Des Moines last year. The Des Moines Register says (http://dmreg.co/1nTD5yx ) 22-year-old Miranda Rose Petithory Metcalf was found guilty of second-degree mu

    July 23, 2014

  • Sioux City escape returned to jail SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A man missing from a Sioux City work release facility since July 12 is back in jail after he was located in a Sioux City apartment. The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1rztX9D ) Dexter James-Lloyd No Ear was taken in

    July 23, 2014

  • Burlington City Council fails to censure member BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — An evenly divided Burlington City Council failed to pass a resolution censuring one of its own members for cursing and storming out of a meeting earlier this month. The Burlington Hawk Eye reports (http://bit.ly/1ucN6jT ) the

    July 23, 2014

  • Free meals available to more Des Moines students DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines Public Schools plans to offer free meals to all students at more schools beginning this fall. District officials say 35 Des Moines schools and three early learning centers will offer free breakfasts and lunches for

    July 23, 2014

  • Report: Iowa third among states in child well-being DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new national report on the well-being of children released Tuesday ranked Iowa third in the nation, up four places from last year, the best showing for the state in 25 years. The Kids Counts report from the Annie E. Casey Fo

    July 23, 2014

  • Power switched off in 300 Iowa homes amid heat CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — An energy company says it switched off power in hundreds of Iowa homes to work on power lines this week as temperatures reached almost 90 degrees. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports (http://bit.ly/1nTJrxO ) Alliant

    July 23, 2014

  • Demoted Iowa police chief wants to get reinstated NASHUA, Iowa (AP) — The former police chief of a northern Iowa city is fighting to get his job back after being demoted. Former Nashua Police Chief Ernie Willsher and his attorney argued Monday night at city council that he be reinstated. KIMT-TV rep

    July 22, 2014

  • Iowa police investigate why officer shot vehicle DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa police are trying to determine why an officer fired a bullet into a car involved in a high-speed chase. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1p5aGXC ) Polk County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jana Abens said M

    July 22, 2014

  • Eddyville gets $1M federal grant for flood project EDDYVILLE, Iowa (AP) — The city of Eddyville is getting more than $1 million to improve its stormwater handling system to protect the city from Des Moines River flooding. The funding, announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, comes from the Federa

    July 22, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National