Iowa Workforce Development

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 […]

Care-facility worker who contracted COVID-19 not entitled to jobless benefits, judge says

BY: - June 1, 2021

An Iowa woman who contracted COVID-19 while working in a treatment facility where residents ignored face-mask requirements is not entitled to state unemployment benefits, an Iowa judge has ruled. Since 2015, Erin Phillips had worked as a substance abuse counselor in a residential treatment facility run by Trinity Medical Center. Due to the pandemic, Trinity required […]

State agency falsely claimed to have complied with public-records request

BY: - May 27, 2021

After taking one month to respond to a request for public documents, Iowa Workforce Development recently turned over what it falsely claimed were all of the requested records. As part of that same process, the state agency mistakenly disclosed the personal tax returns of a Des Moines couple that runs an art studio. The agency’s […]

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 […]

Extra unemployment benefits will end in June, Reynolds orders

BY: - May 11, 2021

Unemployed Iowans will lose their extra $300 per week benefit and other federal pandemic unemployment assistance in June, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday. “Federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs initially provided displaced Iowans with crucial assistance when the pandemic began,” Reynolds said in a press release. “But now that our businesses and schools have reopened, these […]

Iowa has logged 37,000 fraudulent claims for unemployment during the pandemic

BY: - May 4, 2021

Iowa has fielded at least 37,000 fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to state officials. That works out to more than 87 fraudulent claims filed each day of the pandemic. Those claims are tied specifically to identity theft, wherein people have filed claims pretending to be real Iowans who may […]

Iowan who cited religious beliefs in refusing to wear a mask is denied jobless benefits

BY: - April 14, 2021

An Iowa man who refused to wear a COVID-19 face mask at work because it violated his religious beliefs is not entitled to unemployment benefits, a state judge has ruled. State records indicate that since 2012, Aaron Vulich worked sporadically for Tri-City Electric of Iowa as a communication technician, installing internet networks and other infrastructure […]

Iowa judge: Mask policy didn’t violate worker’s religious rights

BY: - February 2, 2021

An Iowa judge has denied unemployment benefits for a dental technician who cited religious reasons for refusing to wear a face mask intended to help slow the spread of coronavirus. State records indicate Kelly C. Jones lost her job last year at Cloak Dental Labs of Williamsburg after a series of conflicts with her boss […]

Iowa Capitol Dome

Iowa legislation could strip licenses from firms that employ undocumented workers

BY: - January 25, 2021

Iowa employers could face loss of their state licenses if they employ undocumented workers under a bill approved by a legislative subcommittee Monday. Senate File 84 drew opposition from business organizations, advocates for immigrants and at least one immigration lawyer before the subcommittee sent the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republican Sens. Julian Garrett […]