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Wed Aug 25, 2021, 05:14 PM

After 105 days, Reynolds' office discloses messages from fired agency head

After a delay of 105 days, Gov. Kim Reynolds has released some of the correspondence her office received from the head of the Iowa Veterans Home before he was fired earlier this year.

Reynolds fired IVH Commandant Timon Oujiri without explanation in early May after it was alleged that he had collected $105,413 in improper, excess compensation since 2019. The excess pay and benefits were paid out as a result of Oujiri’s timesheets incorrectly showing 112 hours, rather than 80 hours, worked in each two-week pay period, according to a report from the state auditor’s office.


On Aug. 2, after an Iowa Auditor of State report disclosed the reasons for Oujiri’s dismissal, the Capital Dispatch wrote again to Reynolds’ staff, this time requesting copies of a “personal thank you note” Oujiri had sent to the governor and an email he had sent to Reynolds’ chief of staff. The request noted the governor’s staff had never acknowledged the larger, May 10 request for all overpayment-related correspondence with Oujiri.

On Monday, the governor’s legal counsel, Michael Boal, wrote to the Capital Dispatch, and provided three documents:

An August 2019 handwritten note Oujiri sent to Reynolds shortly after the unauthorized pay increase took effect, in which he told the governor, “I am truly grateful for the increase in my base salary.”
An email Oujiri sent to Reynolds’ chief of staff about the same time, in which Oujiri said, “I truly appreciate the confidence in my increase.”
An email Oujiri sent to the chief of staff hours before he was fired in May, saying, “I am very sorry for not questioning my increase. I am terribly sorry to embarrass you and the governor. I am hoping and praying you can find forgiveness in your heart.”


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