IOWA CITY — A state senator demanded an audit Tuesday into an arrangement in which Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz allowed his top political appointee to keep a $126,000 annual salary for seven months after taking away his management duties.
Sen. Liz Mathis said Schultz’s chief deputy Jim Gibbons appears to have been a “no-show employee” for months before he resigned in December 2012, as reported last week by The Associated Press.
She said Schultz, a Republican leaving the office to run for Congress, “owes Iowa taxpayers an explanation and an apology.”
“Media reports have revealed that he handed out a six-figure salary to an employee who simply wasn’t working,” said Mathis, D-Robins, the co-chair of the Legislature’s administration and regulation budget subcommittee. “This is disgraceful.”
In a letter to State Auditor Mary Mosiman, Mathis requested a special review to look at whether Gibbons was performing any duties or tasks between June and December 2012; what his work hours were; and whether he was supervising anyone. In an interview, Mathis said she hoped a review would show whether any other former Secretary of State employees were paid after their jobs were cut.
Schultz spokesman Chance McElhaney dismissed Mathis’ request as “blatant election-year politics at its worst.” He said the office ultimately saved money by eliminating Gibbons’ job, because it has operated with one less manager since he resigned.
“He felt it would be helpful for Mr. Gibbons to be available as a resource through the transition, and that is his decision to make as an elected official,” McElhaney said.
Schultz told the AP last week that he decided in late May 2012 to eliminate the chief deputy position held for 17 months by Gibbons, a former Iowa State wrestling coach. He said he sent Gibbons to work from home during June after discovering he wasn’t allowed to offer Gibbons severance pay. He said he then told Gibbons to report to the office daily to serve as a resource from July through December, but that his duties weren’t clear.