Iowa says its list of fired workers was wrong


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Nearly half of 328 state employees identified as being fired resigned instead and were mistakenly put on a list released publicly, Iowa officials say.

Earlier this month, the Des Moines Register reported that 33 of the 328 fired employees were later rehired by the state.

The Des Moines Register reports ( ) the state now says 145 of the people included in the initial list of fired employees resigned to avoid having a termination on their record.

The initial report highlighted an Iowa conservation officer who remains on the job even after being fired twice for alcohol-related offenses and a correctional officer who was rehired after being fired for neglecting his duties while watching videos in the control room.

Now Gov. Terry Branstad and some lawmakers are talking about changing the law to make more disciplinary records of state employees available to the public.

Rep. Kevin Koester, R-Ankeny, said the public should know when state employees are disciplined or fired because public safety may be on the line when a bad employee is rehired.

Last year Koester worked with Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, to pass a law requiring some school disciplinary actions to be reported to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.

Koester said he hopes to be able to persuade his fellow lawmakers to go further this year and require serious disciplinary records of other public employees to be disclosed.

"This is my first real look at this, but one thing I will guarantee, there will be discussion about it. It sounds to me like there is a need to introduce law on that," Koester said.

But the state chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union opposes making employee discipline information public.

Drake University journalism professor Kathleen Richardson said she thinks a persuasive argument can be made that the public should be able to find out about things like disciplinary actions against a police officer.

"I think in a lot of situations, there are good arguments to be made that it's in the public interest" to have access to disciplinary records of public employees, Richardson said.


Information from: The Des Moines Register,

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