The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Iowa

April 10, 2014

AP NewsBreak: Iowa releases list of barred workers

IOWA CITY — Iowa's human resources agency has released a list of hundreds of former workers who are barred from ever returning to state employment, days after the department's now-fired director repeatedly told lawmakers no such list existed.

A Department of Administrative Services spreadsheet identifies 975 workers who are disqualified from future employment because they were either fired or resigned before termination, dating to 1990. The majority are barred from working again for the 42 executive branch agencies, while a small number are disqualified from specific departments or jobs.

The department released the data to The Associated Press following a four-month push for access through the public records law. Four days earlier, then-DAS Director Mike Carroll told lawmakers: "There is no 'blacklist'. There is no 'do-not-hire' list. There is no list." Carroll was fired Tuesday, hours after the list's release.

The AP reported last month that Iowa's executive branch, for two decades under three governors, has continued a little-known practice of banning some fired workers despite questions about the legality and fairness. The spreadsheet shows the practice is widespread, affecting everyone from social workers to corrections officers to prison chaplains.

The list doesn't explain why each was fired, which is confidential in Iowa. Some listed employees committed previously reported misconduct, including a guard who kicked an inmate, a public safety employee who misused a police database, and civil rights investigators who traded inappropriate emails.

But the list also includes whistleblower Nancy Brady, who claims she was fired from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in retaliation for exposing inappropriate and threatening workplace behavior by assistant director Mike Quinn. Brady recently asked DAS whether she was on the list, but didn't get a response until after the AP told her she was.

"I wonder why I would be blacklisted after Mike Quinn threatened to slit my throat and he's still working," Brady said, referring to a comment taped by Brady for which Quinn was reprimanded.

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