Suspend Commandant, complete an investigation

The internal storm of controversy that has surrounded the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown for over two years came into full public view on Monday in Des Moines.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing after several current and former employees of IVH as well as numerous community leaders made complaints about Commandant David Worley’s treatment of staff and residents at the home.

Allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, threats, laying hands on employees and trying to force doctors to sign off on residents’ releases were outlined by former IVH workers and others.

Those testifying made reference several times to the phrase “culture of fear and intimidation” during their testimonies.

At the completion of the hearing, Senator Steve Sodders called for Governor Branstad to place Worley on paid administrative leave and suggested the Iowa Attorney General and the Department of Criminal Justice be called on to investigate the claims.

Senator Daryl Beall, chairman of the committee, suggested a review of IVH and Commandant Worley be taken to the next level with the Government Oversight Committee, a committee that has subpoena power to have people testify who were reluctant to testify at Monday’s meeting.

On Tuesday, in a surprise move, Governor Branstad appointed Brig. Gen. Jodi Tymeson as chief operating officer at IVH. Branstad said that Worley would stay on as commandant.

We applaud the governor for naming a chief operating officer at IVH and we are hopeful that she will get the home back to its previous status.

However, despite what appears to be a very qualified person being appointed to this position, we think Senator Sodders and Senator Beall have good ideas. We encourage the governor to suspend David Worley and we agree further investigation is warranted.

The veterans who call IVH home have earned the right to live in their home free from the fear of intimidation and bullying and the workers there should not have to walk on egg shells, fearful of losing their jobs or being harassed in an intimidating manner.

Until those charges can be fully investigated, either by the attorney general, DCI, Government Oversight or a combination of all of them, we think it is only logical to remove the commandant until this is resolved.