A little over a month ago, Department of Human Services head Jerry Foxhoven resigned his position apparently in lieu of being terminated. Once again Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds acts as if the state government is her own little company and refuses to tell those of us who pay the freight what is going on.
This has led to speculation in the press and in one case made Iowa a national laughingstock once again. The stories that somehow leaked out were that Foxhoven was a huge fan of rapper Tupac Shakur. Foxhoven would send department emails with Shakur lyrics in them and would play Shakur’s music in his office.
While that is surely annoying behavior and probably something that should have brought at least a note from the boss to quit it, if not a formal reprimand. But forcing someone’s resignation over what should be a fairly easily correctable behavior? Sounds fishy. However, the rest of the country enjoyed Iowa being the butt of this joke.
Foxhoven has his own theory. This means that apparently Reynolds either didn’t give Foxhoven a reason or the reason he got seemed – well – fishy. Foxhoven claims that the Governor asked him (Foxhoven) to do something on the shady side and he refused to comply.
Whatever the reason, Reynolds is not saying and we are all scratching our heads. Until the day Foxhoven resigned Reynolds seemed to have nothing but praise for Foxhoven. Apparently something came up quickly that necessitated Foxhoven’s resignation.
According to a law that was part of the union busting bill pushed through the legislature in 2017 and signed by former Governor Terry Branstad under the watchful eye of lobbyist Drew Klein. According to the Des Moines Register:
“Documents detailing the firings and demotions of public employees have become available under a little-noticed but dramatic change to the Iowa Open Records Act signed by then-Gov. Terry Branstad in February. The Associated Press used the law to obtain records that shed light on an aspect of public sector work that had been kept under wraps for decades.
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The amendment signed by Branstad requires agencies to release “the documented reasons and rationale” that employees are fired, demoted, or resign to avoid termination. The law requires agencies to notify employees that the documentation going in their personnel files may become public records after appeals are exhausted.”
Part of Foxhoven’s purview was Iowa’s privatized Medicaid system that has been one screwed up mess from before its inception. Foxhoven’s resignation could not have come at a worse time as the medicaid system is once again undergoing major revamping, including the reassignment of patients from one MCO to a new MCO. The pain in this transition will once more fall on patients who are least able to handle it.
We have had plenty of secrecy in the Reynolds administration in the 2 or so years she has been Governor. Reynolds just doesn’t want to seem to let Iowans know what she is doing whether it is accepting questionable airplane rides from donors or dealing with personnel without letting taxpayers know what’s going on.
Based on the actions of the current administration in Washington, Republicans act as if the public business is none of the Public’s business.
Tell us what is going on, Reynolds. It is always easier to be honest up front than trying to explain your way out of another embarrassing headline.