The newly elected Iowa Attorney General has called for the resignation of 19 current staff members. This includes many staff members in leadership positions, as well as several long-time staff attorneys.
Republican County Attorney Brena Bird, who defeated longtime Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller in the November election, called for her resignation on Dec. 22, according to a letter obtained by the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
“Thank you for your past service to Iowa,” wrote Sam Langholtz, whom Byrd chose to be her chief of staff when she manages the office next week. Elected Attorney General To best serve them, and to do what she told the Iowans, the Attorney General-elect reorganized the office and created a new office to match her vision for the office. We are building a team.”
During the campaign, Byrd pledged to more aggressively defend laws enacted by the Republican-controlled Congress and challenge policies enacted by Democratic President Joe Biden.
A former senior adviser to Gov. Kim Reynolds, Langholtz has worked in the Attorney General’s Office for almost two years, defending against allegations of challenge to the governor’s policies and administrative actions.
His letter, addressed to 19 colleagues, called for them to resign no later than 8:30 a.m. on January 3rd.
“We will be rescheduling this transition to receive holiday pay on January 2nd, regular pay for half an hour on January 3rd, and regular health insurance in January,” Langholz wrote. increase.
He said the deadline for his resignation letter is Dec. 28 — six days after the letter was sent.
Miller’s chief of staff, Hicks, said at least 10 people who responded to the request or had already planned to resign, according to copies of their resignations and other information he provided to Capital Dispatch with employee consent. Included inside. He identified a total of 13 people who were asked to resign.
The 19 employees represent less than 10% of the total staff of about 150 assistant attorneys general and more than 200 total staff, according to state payroll records.
Top staff turnover is common when new people are elected to executive positions statewide, especially if they belong to different political parties. But the letter also covers lawyers more closely involved in litigation, some of whom he has been with for more than 20 years.
“It is my great honor to serve the people of Iowa, especially the most vulnerable, including Iowa’s seniors, veterans and other at-risk individuals, and it is with great honor that I am asked to resign. I am disappointed,” wrote Shantel Smith, an assistant attorney general who has focused on elder abuse and has been employed by the office since about 2000, according to state records.
According to Hicks, others asked to resign include:
- Nathan BlakeChief Deputy Attorney General.
- Jessica WhitneyDeputy Attorney General for Public Protection, and Director of the Department’s Consumer Protection Division.
- Matt Gannon, the first Assistant Attorney General wrote in his resignation letter: I have my doubts. “
- Chandler CollinsDirector of Human Services Division.
- Emily WillitsDirector of Licensing and Administrative Law Department.
- Sandy Tibbets Murphy, the head of the Crime Victims Assistance Division wrote in his resignation: It never fades. Byrd says he may reorganize the department given his experience prosecuting crimes and working with victims of those crimes.
- Heather Adamshas been with the firm since 1994 and is an Assistant Attorney General specializing in licensing, administrative law and public health. She told her Capital Dispatch: I, too, was deeply disappointed to be asked to hand in my resignation. Over her nearly 30 years, I have faithfully served office, public, and public health clients, non-partisanly. “
- Mari Culver, Assistant Attorney General, specializing in consumer protection. She is the spouse of former Iowa Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat.
- Ashley Keelera communications specialist who has already submitted his resignation.
- Ellen Ramsey-CasenaAssistant Attorney General, specializing in human services and family law.
- Don Stanley, Assistant Attorney General, specializing in consumer protection. Stanley has been with the office for nearly 20 years and previously held leadership roles. He also took a leave of absence from office in 2010 to become Governor Culver’s campaign his manager.
- Sharon WegnerAssistant Attorney General of the Special Litigation Division.
Langholtz said after Miller was first elected in 1978 that he also set up a “own team” to lead the office, based on media reports at the time, and that eight of the entire staff were asked to resign. You mentioned that it is less than %. They are voluntary employees and “can be fired at any time for legitimate reasons,” Langholtz said.
According to a prepared statement provided by Langholtz, “The incoming Attorney General will build a new team that shares her goals and values to bring her vision to life.” We appreciate the service to Iowa from the individuals who are leaving.”
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