Reynolds on Harassment Firing: “They Were Credible Allegations and That’s All I Needed”
Gov. Reynolds Monday clarified that more than one employee came forward with allegations of sexual harassment before she fired the director of a state housing agency on Saturday.
Reynolds said credible allegations against Iowa Finance Authority Director David Jamison were enough to dismiss him without further investigation.
Speaking at her weekly news conference, Reynolds described the quick action that was taken after agency employees reported the harassment to Reynolds’ chief of staff Friday night.
"It takes a lot of courage to do this." -Gov. Kim Reynolds
“I was made aware of it by my chief of staff,” Reynolds said. “I asked that everyone meet Saturday morning and I took action by the afternoon.”
Reynolds met with her chief of staff, her chief legal counsel, the director of the Department of Administrative Services, and the head of the Department of Management before firing Jamison.
Jamison has headed the housing agency since Gov. Branstad appointed him in 2011. Jamison and Reynolds were colleagues as county treasurers earlier in their careers.
In February, Reynolds directed all executive branch employees to re-take sexual harassment training by May 1st. Reynolds says she, her staff, and the fired administrator had completed the training.
Reynolds said the training emphasizes that employees can bring complaints directly to the governor if they wish, rather than going through other administrative channels.
“It appears that it worked,” Reynolds said.
Jamison served at the pleasure of the governor, who had the authority to fire him for any reason. Reynolds declined to provide details about the victims.
“They asked it to remain confidential,” Reynolds said. “This is hard and it takes a lot of courage to do this.”
Reynolds said she hopes the firing sends a strong message about her administration’s zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment.
Reynolds named Iowa Finance Authority Chief Programs officer Carolann Jensen as interim director.