The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast 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
Southeast Iowa
  • Stuff the Bus photo United Way stuffs the bus for Operation Backpack

    OSKALOOSA — United Way of Mahaska County staff stuffed a bus with donated school supplies Tuesday morning to benefit needy students around the county.This is the third year for the Stuff the Bus program that the United Way has sponsored.“It’s a schoo

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Red Rock Dam 2.jpg North Tailwater to close Aug. 4

    The North Tailwater area near the Red Rock Dam will be closed to the public beginning Aug. 4 to enable construction of hydroelectric facilities at the Dam. The closure will extend until construction of the project is completed in the spring of 2018.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • Centerville man violates sex offender registry

    A Centerville man with multiple felony convictions in Monroe County was recently sentenced in the Appanoose County Courthouse for OWI and sex offender violation.

    July 31, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Brownsworth takes over helm at Van Buren hospital KEOSAUQUA — Ray Brownsworth officially started as Van Buren County Hospital’s new chief executive officer on Monday. Employees were introduced to and visited with their new administrator during a morning coffee session. Brownsworth was previously the

    July 30, 2014

  • streetscape July 29.jpg Paving may begin late next week

    The Third Street project in Knoxville is about three weeks behind, but paving may begin late next week. 

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors wrestle with staffing woes KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisor Chairman Bob Waugh says he wants county supervisors to help alleviate staffing problems within the county treasurer’s office. In May, supervisors opted not to replace a vacancy within the treasurer’s office. Va

    July 30, 2014

  • Muscatine named Blue Zones community MUSCATINE — Muscatine has been named a certified Blue Zones Community. Certification recognizes Muscatine’s community transformation through successful implementation of the Blue Zones Project. Community leaders, volunteers and organizations througho

    July 30, 2014

  • Former Centerville teacher drowns in Creston

    A long-time Centerville Community School District teacher and coach has been identified as the man dive teams recovered from a southeast Iowa lake on Tuesday morning.

    July 30, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National