New state CIO gets $11,000 in relocation expenses

Erin Jordan
Published: January 23 2013 | 12:15 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 10:27 am in

Iowa's first chief information officer, hired in April, was paid $11,250 in relocation expenses, according to records obtained by The Gazette.

Robert von Wolffradt served as CIO for the state of Wyoming before moving to Iowa last spring.

The Gazette started examining relocation expenses of state officials last summer after we learned the state's revenue director received nearly $8,000 in moving costs even though she didn't move her primary residence.

Paul Trombino III, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, received more than $30,000 in relocation expenses for his move from Wisconsin to Des Moines in May 2011.

We've also written about more than $132,000 in bonuses Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has approved for agency heads, pushing them over state salary caps.

We filed an Open Records request Dec. 21 seeking information about all directors and deputy directors who have received additional pay beyond base salaries since Jan. 2, 2011.

Nearly 170 pages of records came back Tuesday from the Iowa Department of Administrative Services. None show additional bonuses beyond what the Gazette has reported.

Most of the records are duplicates of documents The Gazette already had concerning Courtney Kay-Decker's relocation expenses after she was named director of the Iowa Department of Revenue.

Another 40 pages documented von Wolffradt's relocation expenses, which included three months of rent, electricity and cable television totaling $8,338. Von Wolffradt and his wife, Ginger, signed a one-year lease in May stating they would pay $2,300 a month for a Des Moines-area residence, but records show only three months of rent were covered by the state.

The state also paid von Wolffradt $2,918 to cover his income tax on the relocation expenses.

State employees required to move as part of their jobs are eligible for up to $50,000 in relocation expenses under a policy updated in 2009.

A 2011 state audit suggested administrative services lower the maximum to 10 percent of an employee’s salary — as many other states do — but the agency stuck with the higher level.

Twelve state employees received relocation expenses totaling $94,217 in fiscal 2012, according to administrative services. Employees from eight departments were reimbursed for expenses ranging from $1,134 to $20,000. The DOT and state universities are not included in this database.

Von Wolffradt, a former Air Force sergeant and county IT director, said in May he was looking forward to helping Iowa with efficient technology.

“I look forward to putting in place business objectives and lead people and teams to achieve more than they thought possible,” he said in a prepared statement. “I will bring a background of delivering business improvements, operational performance, efficiency and customer service to the citizens of Iowa through our initiatives in state government.”

 

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