The Latest: Governor withholds complaint in harassment case
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on Gov. Kim Reynolds’ decision to fire a longtime ally accused of workplace sexual harassment (all times local):
Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office is reversing course and acknowledging it does have a written complaint detailing sexual harassment allegations against a longtime ally whom she fired.
The office said last week it had no such records in response to a request from The Associated Press, which sought all correspondence related to the allegations against Iowa Finance Authority Director David Jamison.
After the AP reported on that denial Monday, Reynolds’ aides said hours later they were mistaken and that they did receive a written complaint on March 23. They called it an office error in not disclosing the complaint earlier.
However, Reynolds’ office said it would withhold the complaint from the public, claiming it’s exempt from the open records law. Reynolds says in a new statement to AP that the victims asked for confidentiality and that she will honor their request.
Gov. Kim Reynolds is defending the secrecy surrounding her decision to fire a longtime ally after her staff received sexual harassment allegations.
Reynolds told reporters Monday that she doesn’t have to give a reason for firing Iowa Finance Authority director David Jamison since he’s an at-will employee. She repeated her past statements that the allegations were credible but that she wouldn’t detail them in order to protect the confidentiality of victims.
Reynolds also defended her decision not to recuse herself from the matter, saying Jamison was one of many “friends and colleagues that I have worked with over the years.” She says she has a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment and “that applies to everybody.”
Reynolds spoke after her staff said it had no documentary evidence related to Jamison’s conduct and created no records showing why he was fired.
The office of Gov. Kim Reynolds says it has no evidence or records showing why she fired a longtime ally immediately after learning of workplace sexual harassment allegations against him.
Responding to open records requests, Reynolds’ office said Friday it never received documentary evidence of the alleged harassment by Iowa Finance Authority director David Jamison and created no other records detailing why he was fired.
The office says a Reynolds’ aide received verbal “reports of sexual harassment” on March 23 against Jamison, who was terminated the next day without an investigation. Reynolds and Jamison have known each other 20 years, dating to when they were county treasurers.
Reynolds last year supported a law change requiring agencies to release the “documented reasons and rationale” when public workers are fired or demoted. But the governor’s office says the requirement doesn’t apply to Jamison since he was an at-will appointee.