The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

August 22, 2013

APNewsBreak: Iowa academy leader got final warning

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The assistant director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy received a stern warning instead of a suspension for making numerous comments in the workplace that were sexually inappropriate and, in one case, threatening, according to a disciplinary letter obtained by The Associated Press.

Michael Quinn, 70, violated the state's anti-discrimination and violence-free workplace policies with remarks to cadets and employees about his testicles and his sex life, and by telling one subordinate he would "slit your throat" if she acted up, the letter says. But in lieu of suspending him without pay for five days, ILEA Director Arlen Ciechanowski issued a "written notice of alternative discipline" that he said carried the same weight but would not affect Quinn's pay, seniority or benefits in the $91,000 per-year job.

Ciechanowski told Quinn it was imperative that he understand his failure to follow state policies was a serious matter, noting that he is in leadership at the academy and holds "a critical role model position for future Iowa law enforcement officials."

"Because of your unique position, this suspension should serve as a final warning," Ciechanowski wrote in the September 2012 letter. "Another incident involving a statement that constitutes harassment of a sexual nature, and does not have a legitimate teaching purpose, or a statement that threatens or intimidates another employee, regardless of the intent or the perception of the statement, will result in discharge."

Disciplinary files are generally considered confidential under Iowa law. But an attorney for Nancy Brady, an academy instructor who had complained about Quinn's behavior, received Quinn's letter from the Department of Administrative Services during a grievance over Brady's firing. The attorney, Gary Dickey, sent the letter to Brady, who shared it with AP this week.

Brady contends she was terminated in January after being unfairly accused of threatening Ciechanowski, appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad as director in 2011. She argues her firing and an earlier suspension amounted to retaliation for her complaint against Quinn and was unequal treatment when compared with the warning that Quinn received for his misconduct.

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