Governor Reynolds Monday took questions on an upcoming outside review of the Iowa Finance Authority, where Director Dave Jamison was fired after serious allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Reynolds announced Friday that Des Moines attorney Mark Weinhardt will investigate the conduct that led to Jamison’s firing and any similar incidents during his tenure as executive director.
Initially Reynolds implied that firing Jamison was enough to address the allegations.
She says she now seeks an outside review on the advice of the attorney general.
“I think it’s important working with the attorney general’s office to have an outside firm come in and do a review so we know what the facts are,” Reynolds said.
In a written complaint, an employee at the agency said other high-level employees at IFA, including the general counsel and chief administrative officer, had urged Jamison to stop the harassment, but it continued for at least three years. So Weinhardt has also been tasked with investigating what was known at IFA about the harassment and the appropriateness of the response.
“We're doing that so we can … make sure the process we have in place does what it needs to do,” Reynolds added.
At her weekly news conference, Reynolds said Jamison has been a family friend for 14 years, but she never witnessed any of the behavior that led to Jamison’s firing.
"Absolutely not," Reynolds said.
The employee who filed the complaint has obtained the services of a workplace law attorney. Reynolds would not comment on whether hiring an outside investigator will put the state in a better position if it faces a lawsuit over the harassment.
An outside auditing firm will also review questionable financial practices at IFA. Jamison was given authority by the agency’s board of directors to spend up to $100,000 a year in agency funds without seeking the board's approval.
Also on the financial side, Reynolds said the agency will proceed with a $17 million plan to relocate, despite concerns the move is unnecessary. She said acting IFA director Carolann Jensen has signed off on the move.
"She has reviewed it and right now she believes it's the right thing to do to more forward," Reynolds says. "But if anything changes, we'll review it at that time."