Embattled Department Head Confirmed

Apr 15, 2015

Governor Branstad’s reappointment of the Iowa  Department of Human Services director gained the necessary 2/3 vote in the Iowa  Senate yesterday.  

Democrats argued against Chuck Palmer because of what they call the illegal closings of the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo and the Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant.  

Cedar Rapids Democrat Rob Hogg calls Palmer a capable administrator.

“That can't be said about all the administrators that come before us,” Hogg says.  “But this is different and I would urge my colleagues to vote no on this confirmation.”

A lawsuit that Democrats filed challenging the closing at Toledo is before the Iowa Supreme Court.  

Hogg calls the closings illegal.

“This is a gut check moment for this body,”   Hogg says.  “We are not going to tolerate lawbreakers as directors of our departments,” Hogg says.     

The vote for Palmer’s confirmation was 39 to 11, five more than needed for confirmation.    

Ocheyedan Republican David Johnson says Palmer is compassionate and knowledgeable.   In a statement, Governor Branstad calls Palmer a dedicated public servant.  He looks forward to the director’s continued work at DHS.