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Judge orders Iowa to reinstate 2 fired managers

DES MOINES – A judge has ordered Iowa to rehire two former transportation department managers who were fired in 2012 and pay nearly $900,000, but the state is appealing the ruling.

The state Public Employment Relations Board decided that Steven Scott and Ken Morrow should be reinstated to their jobs at an Osceola garage that maintains state vehicles. The judge also ordered the state to pay back pay, legal fees and other compensation, the Des Moines Register reported.

State officials declined to discuss details of the case with the newspaper.

Morrow and Scott had worked for the state for several years and been promoted to Osceola from other jobs.

The two men successfully argued that the other employees at the garage treated them like outsiders and resented the fact that they were hired as managers. The judge said several state employees lied as part of an effort to end Scott and Morrow’s careers.

“I was an outsider and not very welcome because I competed” and was hired for a management position instead of “the assistant in the garage who is a neighbor/friend/co-worker of the guys who are already in the garage,” Scott said

Both men said they were offered settlements that would have kept them from discussing the case, but they rejected those.

Scott and Morrow said they believe their firings may have been politically motivated because some of their workers claimed to have connections in Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration. The judge rejected that claim, and said there was no evidence that any Iowa elected officials pressured the transportation department to take action.

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