Some Democrats Reject Branstad Choice to Head Troubled State Agency

Apr 1, 2015

A committee in the Iowa Senate today voted not to recommend the reappointment of Governor Branstad’s choice to head the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

Director Arlen Ciechanowski  was in charge when an assistant director was accused of sexual harassment.  

Des Moines Democrat Janet Peterson says problems at the Academy came to her attention while she headed the Senate Oversight committee.    A 2012 investigation concluded assistant director Michael Quinn made offensive remarks to female recruits.   Quinn stayed in his position until Director Ciechanowski fired him last year.    Des Moines Democrat Janet Peterson says disturbing things happened under Ciechanowski’s leadership that she says weren’t properly addressed.

“ If we want our law enforcement to be professional we've got to start at the top,” Peterson says. 

Three Senators voted against Ciechanowski’s reappointment.  The rest of the Judiciary Committee sent the nomination to the full Senate without recommendation.    

Michael Quinn reportedly threatened violence against an employee.   The  employee was fired and later claimed retaliation for blowing the whistle.   

“I believe we need a strong leader up there who won't tolerate sexual harassment,” Peterson says.

A spokesman says the governor is confident that the full Senate will approve the nomination.