Gov. Terry Branstad announced Friday he will have a former Iowa Supreme Court justice conduct an independent review into the recent firing of a Division of Criminal Investigation agent.
Branstad appointed former chief justice Louis Lavorato to look into the cause of Special Agent Larry Hedlund’s termination from the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
Gov. Branstad says he chose Lavorato because he is known within the legal community for his integrity and impartial judgment.
The governor, in a letter to Lavorato, says “I am committed to transparency. Iowa law prevents all Iowans from having all of the facts and evidence surrounding Mr. Hedlund`s termination; therefore, I ask you to fully review the Internal Affairs investigation and provide the public with your own independent conclusion as to whether Mr. Hedlund`s termination was in any way related to retaliation for reporting my vehicle for speeding on April 26, 2013.”
Critics have questioned the state’s motives behind the dismissal of Hedlund, a 24-year veteran of the DCI.
Hedlund spotted the governor’s SUV speeding in April, but another trooper did not pull it over when he realized it was the governor’s vehicle. Hedlund was placed on leave after he complained to superiors about why the trooper driving the governor wasn’t pulled over.
Last week during a news conference, Branstad said that wasn’t why Hedlund was fired and says the public deserves to know the real story. He wanted a 500-page report of the details behind Hedlund’s firing released to the public.
The governor says the report proves Hedlund was fired because of insubordination and because he was disrespectful to superiors.
Hedlund’s attorney, Tom Duff says that won’t necessarily reveal the truth.
“This was a, we think, witch hunt. The report was done by the employer and just because that’s what they have in the report doesn’t mean that’s exactly what happened,” says Duff.
Because of personnel rules, the report can’t be released without Hedlund’s permission.
Branstad is a Republican, both Lavorato and Hedlund are registered Democrats.