The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


April 3, 2014

Former state workers outline abrupt 2011 firing



Thornton said Woodley required him to write up his own job description "because he was going to hire another person to replace me."

The replacement lacked Thornton's credentials, which include boiler engineer certification. Thornton also is a licensed engineer and a biomedical engineer.

"It's my contention he was hired as a friend of Doug's," Thornton said.

Woodley wasn't available to comment.

In addition to that individual, Thornton contends some of his work is now performed by two private contractors, including one paid more than double Thornton's $90,000 annual salary.

He challenged his firing and through the grievance process reached a settlement agreement but refused to sign a confidentiality clause.

DAS spokesman Caleb Hunter said in a written statement that the department's director, Mike Carroll, spent 35 years in the construction industry and "knows how to deliver and manage construction projects in order to provide the best possible project at the lowest cost to the taxpayers."

"Prior to the reorganization DAS had limited technology and a paperwork heavy process that required multiple copies of each contract and six to seven signatures of state employees on each contract, change order or scheduling adjustment," he said.

He said the reorganization of the design and construction division resulted in three new hires to replace the work previously done by seven people.

He said DAS saves $730,000 a year in operational costs on construction projects. In addition he said the state saved $915,207 last fiscal year.

"Total savings on the entire state construction volume are projected to be in excess of $12 million," he said.

Tony Schmitz, an architectural engineering services employee for five years, was fired Sept. 1, 2011, at a time he was managing $15 million worth of construction projects.

He told lawmakers the state changed job titles so administrators could claim positions were eliminated, but some replacements made more money than the laid off workers.

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