New Iowa DNR director gets 84 percent pay boost from previous state salary

Kayla Lyon's $129,000 salary is the same as predecessor

Kayla Lyon
Kayla Lyon

Kayla Lyon, Iowa’s incoming Department of Natural Resources Director, will be paid $128,890 a year.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’s office provided the salary number late Thursday, the day after Reynolds announced Lyon’s appointment as the first female DNR director. Pat Boddy served as interim director from August to October 2010.

Lyon’s salary is 84 percent more than the $70,000 she was paid in fiscal 2018 as an agriculture and natural resources policy adviser for Reynolds. But Lyon will be paid the same amount as her DNR predecessor, Chuck Gipp, who retired in May 2018 after leading the agency since 2012.

Bruce Trautman, who has served as acting DNR director since May 2018, was paid $148,000 in fiscal 2018, according to the State Salary Book. It’s unclear whether Trautman will again become deputy director, as he was under Gipp.

“Kayla will be assembling a team,” Pat Garrett, Reynolds’s spokesman, said when The Gazette asked about Trautman’s role.

Lyon, who lives in Ames, will start July 8. Her appointment must be confirmed by the Iowa Senate when it convenes next year.

Before joining the governor’s staff in January 2017, Lyon served as director of government affairs for the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, an Ames-based organization that represents industries including agriculture, credit unions, rural utilities, farm credit and petroleum. She was registered as a state lobbyist for the institute as recently as 2016.


The Iowa DNR, with nearly 1,400 employees and an operations budget of $134 million last year, is charged with protecting wildlife, enforcing environmental laws and providing outdoor recreation venues for Iowans, among other duties.

Some environmental groups were concerned about the DNR’s direction because the permanent job was unfilled for nearly 14 months.

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