DES MOINES, Iowa — The forced resignation of the former Iowa Department of Human Services Director is shedding new light how Governor Kim Reynolds and her predecessors have paid their staff.
Jerry Foxhoven resigned from office last month after Governor Reynolds asked him to step down. The Governor has said she made the request because she wanted to take the DHS in a different direction.
Foxhoven, though, tells the Des Moines Register, that Reynolds asked him to do something illegal: use DHS funds to pay the salary of an employee of the Governor’s Office.
Elizabeth Matney is a Health Policy Adviser to the Governor. According to a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, 100% of Matney’s $122,000 salary is paid by DHS. She is not the only employee of the Governor’s Office who is paid by another agency. Four others are also paid by another agency:
- Linda Fandel, Special Assistant for Education is a Department of Education employee
- Stephanie Groen, Director of the Office of State-Federal Relations is paid by “state agency assessments”
- Paige Thorson, Deputy Chief of Staff, is also paid by DHS
- Paul Trombino III, Chief Operations Officer, is paid by DAS, IEDA, OCIO and IWD
Governor Reynolds is not the first governor to use this system to pay staff members. The Governor’s office says Foxhoven previously agreed to other similar arrangements. “This has been a longstanding practice of previous administrations dating back to Governor Vilsack. If this was former director Foxhovens concern, he never raised it before offering his resignation or when he signed three MOUs,” says spokesman for the governor, Pat Garrett.
Garrett says it is a long-standing practice of the Office of the Governor of Iowa to use MOUs to pay employees. Garrett provided these documents showing how Reynolds and previous governors have found funds outside of their office to pay employees.