The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Iowa

April 21, 2014

State auditor investigating secret settlements

(Continued)

DES MOINES —

Government documents show that more than 320 state workers have entered settlement agreements to leave their jobs since Branstad returned as governor in 2011. More than two dozen were asked to sign confidentiality agreements, and a total of more than $500,000 was paid out, including some former DAS workers.

Branstad fired his appointed director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, Mike Carroll, earlier this month after it became clear former workers had been offered in exchange for their silence about settlement agreements they were offered.

Other DAS managers have told the committee they don't know who authorized the agreements.

Branstad reiterated Monday in comments to reporters that he doesn't know who authorized them and seemed again to implicate a former DAS attorney, Ryan Lamb. He left state government a few months ago and now works in Florida for a construction contractor. Lamb has not returned repeated messages seeking comment.

Branstad said he's cooperated with the oversight committee, and would rather have the Legislature focus on his priorities, finish their work and go home.

"They said at the beginning of the session they intended to end the session a couple of weeks early," he said. "I hope they get done in the month of April. There are still important things that need to be done."

Senate Oversight Committee Chairwoman Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, has called another hearing for Tuesday, where she expects the state's top human resources manager, her predecessor and to appear.

The committee has authority to continue its investigation beyond the end of the legislative session and says it'll do so into the summer.

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