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
  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg What will happen in NFL draft? No one really knows

    Despite the hours spent interviewing coaches, watching film and developing well-reasoned mock draft lists, the truth about the 2014 NFL draft remains a mystery, well-guarded by teams that have nothing to gain by publicly sharing their innermost thoughts.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Iowa man accused of torturing, killing bald eagle

    An Iowa man has been charged with torturing and killing a bald eagle.

    A federal grand jury in Des Moines returned an indictment Wednesday against Jason John Thomas.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 24, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-23-14 Northey Burkens committed to ag education CLINTON -- As the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey said his department doesn't hand out the Good Farm Neighbor Award arbitrarily. Only 10 acknowledgements are bestowed each year. On Wednesday, the honor went to a worthy family in Clinton C

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • World Book Night 1 Clinton Public Library hosts largest World Book Night event in the country

    CLINTON -- With more than 21 titles and 800 copies to give away, what reader wouldn't adore an event like World Book Night? Organizers at the Clinton Public Library wondered the same Wednesday, and were pleased with turnout for the third annual event

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amid Russian warning, Ukraine's in a security bind

    Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Although he did not specifically say Russia would launch a military attack, his comments bolstered wide concern that Russia could use any violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for sending in troops.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video