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The head of the Board of Regents is defending its decision to hire a co-worker of a current Regent member. Joe Murphy is replacing Ann McCarthy as the Iowa State University`s head lobbyist.

Murphy served in the same role at the University of Northern Iowa for three years but most recently worked for The Summit Group, a company owned by Regent member Bruce Rastetter.

The Board of Regents hired Murphy without conducting a search to fill the position and without notifying the public that the position was being filled.

Rastetter has denied any involvement in the hiring process.

Regent director Bob Donley says he made the decision to skip a search because he needed to fill the position in time for the start of the legislative session in January. Murphy will be paid $110,000 dollars a year.