Scroll To Top
World

Gay Iowa Official Alleges Discrimination

Gay Iowa Official Alleges Discrimination

Godfrey_brandstetterx390_0
trudestress

Iowa workers' compensation commissioner Chris Godfrey, who is gay, is suing the state for discrimination, defamation, and harassment, after being asked to resign and then receiving a deep pay cut.

Godfrey's annual salary was cut by nearly $36,000 last year, to $73,250, which is the minimum for his job under state law, after he refused Gov. Terry Branstad's second request that he resign, The Des Moines Register reports.

Branstad first asked for Godfrey's resignation in December 2010, shortly before he took office. Branstad asked for the resignations of many of his predecessor's appointees, a common move for new governors, the paper notes. Godfrey was first appointed in 2006 by Gov. Tom Vilsack for a partial term, then in 2009 to a full term by Gov. Chet Culver. Vilsack and Culver are Democrats; Branstad is a Republican.

Godfrey declined Branstad's resignation request, "citing his accomplishments on the job," the Register reports. "He also noted that his six-year term doesn't expire until April 30, 2015, and that the six-year term is intended to insulate the workers' compensation commissioner from political pressure." After Godfrey turned down Branstad's second request, the governor cut his salary in July. Godfrey says top Branstad aides told him to accept the lower salary or leave his job.

Godfrey also says he was shut out of meetings and discriminated against in other ways by the governor, and his lawsuit, filed Thursday, seeks $1 million in compensation. A statement issued by Branstad's office denies discrimination based on sexual orientation or any other factor, and says Godfrey was asked to resign because "he oversaw an increase in workers' comp insurance, forcing additional costs onto Iowa businesses." Godfrey says he has received excellent performance evaluations and that the increase in cost was due to factors beyond his control.

"For those people that are going to be bullied by this governor or by someone else, I can lead by example and say, 'It's OK to stand up to someone, even someone as strong as the governor of the state of Iowa,'" Godfrey told the Register. "I can stand up to that bully, and it's going to be OK."

trudestress
Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.