Reason not yet known for departure of former Iowa agency director


Jerry Foxhoven

Jake Webster

The former director of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) has a now-well-known love for the late-rapper Tupac, but that is apparently not the reason for his dismissal by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Jerry Foxhoven, who was director of DHS from 2017 to 2019, was asked to resign by Reynolds June 17. In a press release from the governor’s office that same day announcing the appointment of an interim director, no reason was given for Foxhoven’s resignation.

Iowa Auditor Rob Sand said he will look into the dismissal of Foxhoven, who said he was asked to resign after questioning the legality of the DHS funding the salary of a health care policy adviser in the governor’s office.

“Without asking at least some questions, we just don’t know what’s going on — and it’s our duty to investigate,” Sand said in an interview with KCCI Tuesday.

Republicans had previously passed a bill “that said any time a state employee was fired or resigned in lieu of firing […] they had to explain why,” Iowa Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, said at a Story County Democrats meeting Thursday.

“It turns out that, at least by latest reports, that the governor’s office actually asked him to continue to pay the salary of somebody who had worked in his department who was being transferred into the governor’s office, I guess the governor’s office didn’t have enough money to meet their payroll,” Quirmbach said.

Quirmbach said he looks “forward to further investigations” in the matter.

Foxhoven has agreed to an interview with Sand, though Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office has agreed with the governor’s office that the salary funding agreement is not illegal.

A spokesman for the governor’s office, Pat Garrett, said Foxhoven had never raised concern about the pay arrangement before offering his resignation, and hadn’t raised concerns about similar arrangements in 2017 or 2018, The Gazette reports.

“Eventually, the story is going to come out,” Quirmbach said.