The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

September 24, 2013

State law keeping fired DPS officials on payroll may need another look

What’s that? You can get fired but appeal your firing and keep getting paid for months?

That’s how it works in Iowa if you’re a Department of Public Safety supervisor who gets terminated.

We’re not sure why it got passed or how often it’s been used, but it’s a law taxpayers might want their legislators to look at. And if nothing else, kindly suggest to them that procedure be changed to speed things up one way or the other.

It came to light when The Associated Press reported that state law requires that the DPS continue paying supervisors while they appeal their firing administratively, which can take a year or longer.

The DPS has been making headlines lately because, among other things, former Department of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Larry Hedlund, fired during the dust-up over Gov. Terry Branstad’s speeding SUV driven by a state trooper, is one of those still being paid pending his appeal. His annual salary: $96,500.

Hedlund was fired for alleged conduct problems, but is claiming it was solely over the Branstad situation.

Some lawmakers are urging that the 25-year veteran, with no previous discipline problems, be reinstated, and Hedlund said that would be just fine with him — that he’d rather be working “than sitting here trying to re-establish” credibility.

He’s not the only one in such a situation. An Iowa State Patrol sergeant, Kevin Knebel, was fired in June and has been receiving his annual $83,500 salary during his appeal process.

(Both he and Hedlund both say their pay was initially cut off then reinstated, so maybe there’s more than a few state officials unaware of the law.)

A third employee collected nearly $90,000 during an unsuccessful 14-month appeal that ended in 2010, The AP reported.

This law, passed in 1988, applies only to supervisors. Troopers and agents lose their pay immediately but have union representation and can appeal through arbitration.

Text Only
Top News
  • Take a 'National Night Out'

    For one night every year, communities across the country celebrate National Night Out, a nationwide initiative to fight crime and promote safe communities.

    July 31, 2014

  • David Evers Evers' duck decoy hits auction block

    From just a block out of a basswood tree, David Evers creates award-winning pieces of artwork.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Well affected by mercury spill is working again

    Mercury remains in one of Clinton’s Archer Daniels Midland wells, stemming from a November 2013 spill. But according to an independent study, threat levels are below Iowa Department of Natural Resources standards.
    The affected Well No. 4 returned to operation earlier this month.

    July 31, 2014

  • Blake Holovach Holovach converting back to a starting pitcher

    When Blake Holovach takes the mound tonight along the Mississippi River in Davenport, it’ll be in the first inning, which he wasn’t accustomed to in the past.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Relay for Life: Stepping toward awareness

    Statistics reveal that cancer continues to remain the second most common cause of death in the United States, claiming one out of four deaths every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • Holly Youngquist Friends of the Library book sale is underway

    Friends of the Library Book Sale is open now. The sale is open to all until 8 p.m. today and on Friday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, Saturday, Aug. 2, is box day. From 9 a.m. to  3 p.m., books will sell at $3 per box.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cremation service helped pet owner in her time of need

    I wanted to share some positive news about a business located in Clinton that I’m guessing most residents aren’t aware even exists. It’s Northridge Pet Cremation on Main Avenue and for me they were recently a godsend.

    July 31, 2014

  • Darryl Hogue Fulton superintendent settles in to new position

    One month into the permanent River Bend School District superintendent job, Darryl Hogue has experienced the long hours, stress and the learning curve that comes with any new position.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video