Government

Durham to head Iowa Finance Authority

She replaces Jamison, continues as economic development chief

Debi Durham
Debi Durham

By Bill Luktisch, Quad-City Times

DES MOINES — Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has named the acting director of the Iowa Finance Authority to the post full time.

Debi Durham took over the agency that administers low-income housing programs after former director Dave Jamison was fired last year amid accusations of sexual assault and lewd behavior. Durham also oversees Iowa Economic Development Authority, which handles incentives for businesses and job attraction. She will continue to work in both roles, according to the governor’s office.

“I am humbled to continue serving and want to thank Gov. Reynolds for the opportunity to work in her administration,” Durham said in a statement. “I look forward to partnering with the professional teams at both IEDA and IFA to help our state grow by prioritizing job creation and community investment. Together, we will find innovative ways to ensure our state’s economy and communities remain strong.”

Jamison’s departure became an Iowa case study in sexual harassment during a national movement of women emboldened to speak out under the #MeToo banner. Reynolds, a friend of Jamison’s, disavowed him after the accusations became a political issue, and said she would have fired him long ago if she were aware of his actions.

A state auditor’s report found the finance authority misused nearly $550,000 during Jamison’s tenure, including $328,000 in payroll expenses deemed questionable. Some employees who brought claims of misbehavior received large pay raises, leading to a suggestion Jamison sought to buy their silence with taxpayer dollars.

As Reynolds begins her first full term, she named eight additional Cabinet members:

• Stephan Bayens, Department of Public Safety: Bayens’ experience includes work as an assistant attorney with federal prosecutors and Polk County. He also worked for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

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• Dan Craig, Department of Corrections: Craig is temporarily overseeing the state’s prison system while a national search for a full-time director is underway. Craig has spent more than three decades in corrections, including as the deputy director of corrections.

• Joyce Flinn, Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Flinn is taking over the office that responds to security concerns and natural disasters. She was appointed in June, and also has worked as the agency’s chief of operations.

• Jeff Franklin, Office of Chief Information Officer: Franklin is taking over as the interim director of the office that manages the state’s information technology matters. He was deputy information officer with the agency and also worked for the Department of Administrative Services.

• Adam Humes, Department of Revenue: Humes will lead the state’s tax-collecting agency. He was the agency’s deputy director, and previously worked as assistant to the Iowa attorney general.

• Chris Kramer, Department of Cultural Affairs: Kramer will continue to lead the department that “connect Iowans to people, places and points of pride that define our state,” according to its website. She has been acting director since August 2017 and was formerly its deputy director. She has served as vice president of the Science Center of Iowa in downtown Des Moines.

• Matt Strawn, Iowa Lottery: Strawn founded a public affairs consulting firm and formerly was the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.

• Dale Woolery, Department of Drug Control Policy: Woolery has worked with the drug control policy office for 24 years, most recently as its associate director. The agency oversees drug enforcement and substance abuse treatment policy efforts.

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