Senate Dem Leader on search for new DAS Director

May 30, 2019

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen on search for new DAS Director

Today is the application deadline for people interested in becoming the new Director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS).

Yesterday, I sent a letter to Governor Reynolds urging her to select a new Director “who can restore taxpayers’ faith in the Department.”

I also wrote:

“Taxpayers expect the new DAS Director to write a new chapter for the Department that establishes higher expectations than what we’ve seen over the past several years.

“Specifically, recent Directors have:

  • “Denied Iowans access to basic, public information about the number of harassment complaints in state government and how much taxpayer dollars have been spent to compensate harassment victims.
  • “Taken a restrictive, punitive approach to negotiating contracts with state employees.
  • “Put the health and safety of state employees and Iowans at risk through dangerous staff reductions, overtime policies, and other employment practices that were previously protected under collective bargaining.
  • “Mishandled a sweeping scandal at the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) that included rampant harassment of employees, a failure by IFA staff and DAS staff to address complaints, and pay raises and promotions that were based on cronyism rather than merit.
  • “Approved secret settlements – described by some as “hush money” – to outgoing state employees.
  • “Endangered the rights of workers by maintaining a “do-not-hire” list without due process for workers to challenge their inclusion on the list.
  • Failed to adequately update and enforce harassment policies in the executive branch.
  • “Conducted hirings, firings and promotions across state government that appear to be based on political connections rather than qualifications.

I concluded my letter by encouraging the Governor to hire a new Director with experience and a proven track record:

“State employees and Iowa taxpayers deserve better.”

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