The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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September 24, 2013

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


For supervisors, an administrative law judge holds a hearing and issues a decision, a process that usually takes about a month.

Employees can appeal that ruling to a three-member Employment Appeal Board. All the while, the salary continues; if the board upholds the firing, no more pay. Apparently, those sorts of decisions take quite some time; or maybe it’s the appeals situation; or both.

We can see where the law would offer some protection to a supervisor who might have a personality clash and get the boot, even though he’s doing an acceptable job in others’ eyes. There’s also the possibility of differing on rules interpretations. There are many twists and turns in a department like the DPS that most of us can’t begin to know. And certainly we don’t know all the legalese.

But we do know that a 14-month appeal process seems like a long time.

The thing is, we want the process to be fair to everyone, including the taxpayer.

If the worker deserves to be fired, so be it. If not, get him or her back on the job so the public is getting its money’s worth.

Rules and laws may be complicated, but that seems like a pretty straightforward solution. Another might be to give the fired worker back pay if it’s determined the firing was unjust and he or she is reinstated.

Those are things we think legislators ought to take a look at when they come back in January.



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