One day after a Senate hearing that raised leadership concerns at the Iowa Veterans Home, Gov. Terry Branstad announced Tuesday that retired Brig. Gen. Jodi Tymeson was resigning as head of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs to become chief operating officer at the Marshalltown home.
“I am honored to serve in this new role, alongside Commandant David Worley and the wonderful staff at the Iowa Veterans Home,” Tymeson said in an email announcement, indicating that her first day in her new post will be May 28.
Branstad thanked Tymeson for her “great work” as director of the veterans affairs department, and noted that “her tremendous leadership capabilities will be a great asset as we bring the level of care for our veterans to the next level.”
Branstad’s announcement came one day after Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, called on the governor to place Worley on paid administrative leave while independent investigators probe allegations of intimidation, bullying, sexual harassment and other problems at the Iowa Veterans Home.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht called Tuesday’s announcement unrelated to the Senate hearing, saying the change in the home’s leadership structure has been in the works for months.
Sodders said information brought to light by former employees and representatives of veterans groups during a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee fact-finding meeting raised “very serious” concerns. He called Tymeson’s new role at the Marshalltown home a positive step, but still believed conditions should be further investigated by the Legislature’s Oversight Committee and the Marshall County Attorneys office with the assistance of the state Division of Criminal Investigation.
Some witnesses at Monday’s meeting painted at a work environment of hostility, fear and low employee morale during the meeting, while Worley, Tymeson and Col. Todd Jacobus, chairman of the Iowa Commission on Veterans Affairs, gave the facility high marks for quality of care.