116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Iowa's top economic development officer has received more than $150,000 in bonuses over the past four years, with the latest bonus requiring her to stay through June.
Debi Durham has received five $30,700 bonuses since she took over leadership of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) in November 2010. The pay pushed Durham's fiscal 2014 compensation to $185,096. The state-mandated salary range for her position is $100,840 to $154,300.
'Your strengths as director, including a broad knowledge of business and community development, government, marketing and communications, help us to keep our leadership agenda moving forward,' Matt Hinch, Gov. Terry Branstad's chief of staff, wrote in a June 2 letter approving the bonus.
Hinch's letter gives Durham credit for Microsoft expanding its West Des Moines data center and WebFilings, an Ames company now called Workiva, adding more employees.
Private companies have guaranteed $9.5 billion in capital investments in Iowa since January 2011, according to an IEDA report. The state has provided firms $411 million in incentives during the same period. Local governments sweeten the pot with local tax breaks and perks.
Durham was the only state agency head to receive a performance bonus for fiscal 2014, Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers said earlier this week. She was also paid $41,758 in travel and subsistence in fiscal 2014, which was 11th highest among more than 60,000 state employees.
Branstad has expressed confidence in Durham's leadership over the years. Earlier this month, he deferred to her decision to fire a high-level energy official regarded as an expert in her field. Paritosh Kasotia, the team lead in the state energy office, was ousted Dec. 8, the Associated Press reported.
Before working in state government, Durham was president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce in Sioux City. She ran for lieutenant governor in 2002 with Republican Doug Gross, but Gross was defeated by former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.
Durham said last week she has committed to staying at the IEDA through 2014. Her bonus letter requires her to work through June or return part of her payment.