When Governor Branstad became governor again in 2011, he asked Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner Godfrey to resign. When he refused, the Governor cut Commissioner Godfrey’s pay from $112,000 to $73,000. While the public statement was this was done because of poor performance as the Commissioner, Godfrey accuses the governor of other motives.
The Governor's off the cuff response when asked in a radio interview about his treatment of Godfrey was "Talk to the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. They're the ones that encouraged me to make a change there." http://www.bleedingheartland.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=4853 His current response is "no comment". http://www.kcrg.com/subject/news/government/branstad-declines-to-comment-on-godfrey-lawsuit-20140609.
The Governor's accusations of poor performance are not based upon fact. The reality of Work Comp Commissioner Godfrey's performance since he took over the agency in 2006 is much different than the accusations as show below:
1. The rates for employers in Iowa have only increased slightly since 2008 and the rates are still 11% below the national median. http://www.workerscompensationshop.com/ia-workers-comp-rates.html
2. Despite an increasing number of petitions being filed, Godfrey has reduced the time from when the petition is filed to when a decision is rendered from more than 600 days down to around 500 days. He has also reduced the time it takes for appeals and the number of appeals waiting for decisions. While this is still a long time for justice for an injured worker, it is a step in the right direction.
3. Iowa has consistently been ranked as one of the most balanced and fairest workers compensation systems in the country. Iowa's rates are among the lowest and their benefits to injured workers are among the highest.
The Iowa Workers' Compensation law was passed in 1913 as a trade-off between employers and workers to make a simpler no-fault system instead of employees suing their employer for personal injuries. Overall, it is a fair system that Commissioner Godfrey has done an excellent job in maintaining.