A new report out today from the AP shows a problematic revolving door in the Administration of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. Already facing a public outcry over her mishandling of sexual harassment within her Administration as well as her recent appointment of her father to a state government position, these latest revelations only heighten the public perception of rampant personnel mismanagement on the part of Reynolds.
Ethics experts told the AP that Reynolds’ top aide’s new job “violates the spirit of the rule,” and “will look problematic to the public.”
See below for excerpts from the AP’s story or read it online here
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A top aide to Gov. Kim Reynolds took a management job with tech giant Apple months after helping promote a $208 million incentive package for the company’s planned Iowa data center as a good deal for taxpayers.
Tim Albrecht left as Reynolds’ deputy chief of staff to begin work at Apple in March as a regional manager of strategic initiatives. Albrecht’s position is “unrelated” to the $1.3 billion complex the company is building outside Des Moines, a deal the administration negotiated, announced and defended when Albrecht was Reynolds’ senior adviser, according to the governor’s office.
Supporters of the Apple project have argued that it’s a landmark development for the fast-growing city of Waukee that will strengthen the state’s tech industry. Critics, including some economists and Democrats running for governor, have blasted the $208 million in tax breaks pledged by the city and state, saying they’re far too generous for a project that will only create 50 full-time jobs once construction is complete.
Albrecht, a longtime GOP public relations professional, was involved in planning and reviewing information for an Aug. 24 press conference in which Reynolds and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the project to applause outside the Capitol, the governor’s office confirmed.
“Welcome to Iowa, Apple!” Albrecht tweeted along with a photo from that event, among more than two dozen tweets he sent from his personal account over a one-month period promoting the deal.
Many of those were retweets of news articles and state officials characterizing the deal as a “win-win for Iowa” and great investment.
Reynolds’ press secretary Brenna Smith said Albrecht is working in Apple’s education department, which has contracts to sell products to K-12 schools, universities and other government agencies. She said the office didn’t publicize Albrecht’s departure because it hasn’t announced personnel changes since Reynolds took office last year.
…”Albrecht’s position at Apple might be legal but will look problematic to the public,” said attorney Gary Dickey, former general counsel to Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack.
“A person who uses his state employment to financially enrich a company — and then goes to work for that company — certainly violates the spirit of the rule,” he said.
…Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson said the Apple deal comes at the expense of all other taxpayers. “As to Albrecht’s good fortune, why am I not surprised?” he said.