Saturday, November 29, 2014

IA Gov. Branstad's day-long deposition in antigay bias job suit filed against him; case has cost IA $648k so far

Chris Godfrey
GOP Gov. Terry Branstad has a history of thumbing his nose at the law, but this time he has to answer in court for his behavior, and the cost to Iowans of defending that behavior has risen to $648,000, payable to a Des Moines law firm, LaMarca & Landry, that is defending him and his administration against a discrimination suit by former Iowa Worker's Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey. From the Des Moines Register:
     Branstad asked Godfrey and many others to submit resignations so that he could name his own management team. Godfrey declined. He noted he had been confirmed by the Iowa Senate for a six-year term that lasted until April 2015, and that his job was supposed to be insulated from political influence so that injured workers could receive fair hearings about whether they qualify for benefits.
     After Godfrey declined additional requests to resign, Branstad cut his pay by $40,000 to the lowest amount allowed for the job. Administration officials painted Godfrey as a poor commissioner whose decisions were hurting employers — which Godfrey denied. Godfrey stayed despite what he called a hostile environment, leaving in August for a federal appointment as chairman of the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board
Godfrey says he was singled out for harsher treatment because he was gay. Branstad says he had absolutely no idea Godfrey was gay. Branstad's prior shenanigans:
Only little people obey speed limits: IA Gov. Terry Branstad
     Retaliating against a state trooper who stopped the state-issued SUV in which he and his Lieutenant Governor, Kim Reynolds, had been tearing down Iowa Highway 20 at 90 mph in April of 2013.
     Getting pulled over again for ignoring Iowa speeding laws in Franklin County four months later.
     Vacationing in sunny Arizona while letting Lt. Gov. Reynolds pretend she had no idea that $280,000 in secret severance payments were made to Democratic Iowa state employees the Branstad administration wanted to get rid of in order to hire GOP cronies.
Reynolds, said she had no idea about the quarter-million in secret severance payments before a story appeared in Des Moines Register, even though she was contacted about the apparent cronyism by the reporter before the piece was published.
     (One thing Reynolds hasn't hidden is the fact that she's
kind of a bitch,  on display at a 2012 Council Bluffs campaign stop when she introduced Paul Ryan, who is no piker in that department himself if his aside to a kid in the audience was any indication.)
     The severance payments were accompanied by tightly-worded confidentiality clauses as well as further inducements amounting to thousands of dollars each to at least two employees to sign additional agreements mandating secrecy, all of which caused Carol Frank, a former construction and design engineer who was laid off in September 2011, to liken the Branstad administration to “a group of renegades,” adding, “They just didn’t care about anyone else or about rules or law. They were just hiring their friends.”

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