Beth Townsend

IWD: Agency director isn’t the ‘custodian’ of her own text messages

BY: - August 2, 2021

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend’s isn’t the custodian of her own work-related text messages and cannot be relied upon to retain and make those records public, an agency lawyer says. The agency’s position poses a threat to public access to government information, said Iowa Freedom of Information Council Executive Director Randy Evans. If IWD […]

State officials silent on agency-head departures and purged text messages

BY: - July 29, 2021

State officials are not answering questions about this year’s unexpected departure of the director of homeland security and they refused for weeks to address the departure of the head of the Iowa Veterans Home. On May 7, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office announced Iowa Veterans Home Commandant Timon Oujiri had been “relieved of his duties,” but […]

Iowa Workforce Development director subject of new open-records complaint

BY: - July 13, 2021

The Iowa Capital Dispatch has filed a formal complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board over Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend’s handling of public records requests. The news organization’s complaint centers on two separate requests for public records made with the agency in late April. The first, made on April 29, was for all […]

IWD director wants $3,846 for her emails, and says her text messages have been purged

BY: - June 7, 2021

After declining requests for an interview, the director of Iowa Workforce Development has responded to a request for her emails with an invoice for $3,846, while stating that her requested text messages have all been purged. The action comes just two weeks after IWD falsely claimed to have turned over another set of documents that […]

State agency refuses to answer questions about unemployment fraud

BY: - May 20, 2021

Iowa Workforce Development is not answering questions about alleged unemployment fraud in the state, and its attorneys have suggested the agency will respond only to requests for specific documents. In April, the Iowa Capital Dispatch asked IWD for information on unemployment fraud related to identity theft. The agency refused a request for an interview with […]

Two state workers fired for expediting a former colleague’s jobless-benefits claim

BY: - December 29, 2020

Two state workers were fired this year for allegedly helping a former colleague collect unemployment benefits in the midst of an unprecedented surge in jobless claims. In an unusual twist, all three of the workers were then awarded unemployment benefits paid out by the same agency that fired them. State records show Bradley Butin of […]

Iowa’s unemployment rate falls to 4.7%

BY: - October 20, 2020

More Iowans returned to work in September as the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.7%. The August rate was 6%. Nationally, unemployment fell to 7.9% in September. Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said the improved conditions were part of a months-long trend. “September is the fifth consecutive month we have seen a […]

Iowa’s unemployment rate falls to 6%

BY: - September 18, 2020

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6% in August as the recovery from the height of the pandemic continued, Iowa Workforce Development reported. The rate, slightly lower than July’s 6.8%, still is far higher than before the coronavirus pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 forced widespread layoffs, furloughs and in some cases closed businesses. Last […]

Iowa unemployment rate falls to 8%

BY: - July 17, 2020

Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped two percentage points in June, to 8%, the state reported. That compares with 2.7% year ago, when a now-surging COVID-19 pandemic was not a factor. Nationally, the June employment rate was 11.1%. “Moving out of double-digit unemployment is a tremendously positive good sign for our economic recovery as businesses reopen and […]

Iowa may be misleading ‘essential workers’ about jobless benefits

BY: - May 3, 2020

State officials are warning Iowans who don’t return to work due to fears of COVID-19 that they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits — but Iowa law suggests otherwise. In a move that made headlines nationally, Iowa Workforce Development and Gov. Kim Reynolds recently announced that refusing to return to work due to COVID-19 […]

Iowa employment stays at 2.8% in February, not reflecting COVID-19 layoffs

BY: - March 27, 2020

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 2.8% in February, in reports that don’t yet reflect widespread layoffs related to COVID-19. Iowa’s rate was 2.7% a year ago. The national rate fell slightly to 3.5% in February. “Because of the way the Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data, we do not expect the COVID-19 numbers […]