The Ottumwa Courier

October 23, 2013

APNewsBreak: After affair, official got gaming job

RYAN J. FOLEY
Associated Press

---- — IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation violated its policies by having a private relationship with a subordinate employee, but was moved to a high-profile job months later, newly released records show.

David Jobes was given a last-chance warning after superiors learned of the relationship, ordered to get remedial training on professional conduct and had his supervisory duties modified, according to a document dated Feb. 6 and obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.

But three months later, he was transferred as DCI's assistant director for support operations to gaming operations, assuming responsibility for ensuring gaming integrity at Iowa's casinos, lottery and other forms of gambling.

While the appointment wasn't technically a promotion, it put him in charge of dozens of sworn officers who enforce laws governing a major industry in Iowa. Gaming agents recently handled a case in which the deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces was alleged to have used $1,500 in counterfeit chips at a Council Bluffs casino. In his prior job, Jobes, 44, oversaw civilian employees performing functions such as criminal background checks and fingerprinting.

Since July, the Iowa Department of Public Safety had declined to explain how it handled Jobes' affair, saying it was a confidential personnel matter. The Associated Press obtained Jobes' disciplinary notice Monday from the Employment Appeal Board, an agency that is notified when DPS disciplines or terminates supervisors.

The notice said Jobes "engaged in a personal relationship" with a subordinate who was in his chain of command and failed to inform his immediate supervisor.

"Such inaction has reflected unfavorably on yourself and the department," DCI Director Chari Paulson wrote. "Furthermore, your actions have discredited the integrity of the department."

It said the warning should be considered the equivalent of a 30-day suspension and future violations would lead to termination.

In addition to training on professional behavior, the former special agent who's been with DCI for 20 years was ordered to help develop an online training system for employees. The action did not cut Jobes' $109,000 annual salary, and Jobes did not appeal.

The notice does not identify the subordinate involved or explain how their relationship came to light. It is dated Feb. 6, but DPS did not send the document to the board until May 1, saying it forgot to do so earlier, board employee Mary Shineflew said.

Two days later, on May 3, Paulson announced that Jobes and then-assistant DCI director for gaming operations Dave Button would switch jobs. Button left DPS in July after a 28-year career.

Jobes said he remains "a very dedicated employee" but otherwise declined comment. Court records show he filed for divorce from his wife last year, and it was finalized in March after he was ordered to pay monthly child support. Jobes had no prior discipline.

The department's treatment of Jobes will come under scrutiny during a lawsuit filed by former DCI special agent in charge Larry Hedlund, who contends he was wrongly terminated for filing a complaint about Gov. Terry Branstad's speeding SUV and other misconduct.

Jobes and assistant DCI director Gerard Meyers traveled to Fort Dodge to remove Hedlund from duty May 1, taking away his badge and guns and telling him that he was under investigation, Hedlund has said. That action came after Hedlund initiated an April 26 pursuit with a trooper speeding while driving Branstad and complained to superiors that it jeopardized public safety.

Hedlund was fired in July after being accused of writing disrespectful emails about Paulson's leadership and raising his voice during a conference call, among other things.

Hedlund's attorney, Tom Duff, said he would request the personnel files of Jobes and other disciplined supervisors to investigate whether they were treated more favorably.

"Jobes allegedly had this affair with a subordinate. If you're not going to fire him but you are going to fire Larry Hedlund ... that is absolutely relevant and a jury should be able to decide: Why is the discipline uneven and what is the explanation for that?" Duff said. "My argument would be that I bet Jobes wasn't filing complaints about unethical conduct by his supervisors or a complaint about the governor's SUV."

In August, then-DPS spokesman Lt. Rob Hansen said that officials "acted carefully, swiftly and in an appropriate manner" after learning about Jobes' relationship but refused to elaborate. He also declined to explain the reasons for Jobes' transfer, saying only "a number of factors were evaluated prior to the realignment of leadership duties."

Sgt. Scott Bright, the new DPS spokesman, noted Wednesday that Jobes' discipline and transfer occurred under former Commissioner K. Brian London, who was ousted last month by Branstad for poor management.