Exclusive: Iowa medical director's 45% raise violated state policy

Iowa Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati received a 45 percent raise this summer despite a state policy limiting within-grade pay increases, records obtained by Bleeding Heartland show.

Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Interim Director Paul Trombino III advocated for Pedati to receive the unusually large raise three weeks after informing state agency directors that they could give employees within-grade salary hikes of up to 3 percent.

State rules also require that “any within grade pay increase must be accompanied by a current performance evaluation,” Trombino reminded directors in the same memo. However, staff with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and DAS did not answer questions about whether anyone has formally reviewed Pedati’s work this year.

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Kim Reynolds' commitment to "normalcy" is getting a lot of Iowans killed

Governor Kim Reynolds found a way to make a bad situation worse.

In the past month, Iowa’s coronavirus deaths have accelerated, while hospitalizations have nearly doubled, far surpassing the previous peak in early May.

Despite numerous warnings from experts that Iowa is on a dangerous path, Reynolds refuses to take any additional steps to slow community transmission of the virus. Instead, she is sticking with the “trust Iowans to do the right thing” playbook, confident that hospitals will be able to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients.

The numbers speak for themselves.

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Iowa surpasses New York, New Jersey in COVID-19 cases per capita

Iowa continues to attract national media attention due to our high coronavirus case numbers, uncontrolled outbreaks on college campuses, Governor Kim Reynolds’ refusal to mandate face coverings, and her stubborn insistence that all school districts return to in-person instruction.

Another milestone in our state’s losing battle to contain the virus passed with little notice this week. Iowa moved up to eleventh place among the 50 states in terms of COVID-19 cases per capita, surpassing early hot spots New York and New Jersey.

There’s no excuse for how poorly we are managing the pandemic.

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Iowa's COVID-19 website rewrites history every day

If you visit coronavirus.iowa.gov and view the graphs on the “case counts” page, you might expect to learn how many Iowans were tested for COVID-19 on any given day, and how many of those tests came back positive or negative.

You would be wrong.

Every day, records of hundreds or thousands of old tests disappear from the website. Consequently, it is impossible to reconstruct an accurate picture of Iowa’s testing numbers or positivity rates, either statewide or at a county level.

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Kim Reynolds set young people up to fail. Now she's setting them up to blame

“Much of the spread that we’re seeing in Iowa continues to be tied back to young adults” between the ages of 19 and 24, Governor Kim Reynolds said during an August 27 news conference, where she announced a new proclamation closing bars in Polk, Dallas, Linn, Johnson, Story, and Black Hawk counties.

Reynolds noted that young adults are spreading coronavirus to classmates, co-workers, and others “by socializing in large groups” and “not social distancing.” She added, “While we still know that this population is less likely to be severely impacted by COVID-19, it is increasing the virus activity in the community, and it’s spilling over to other segments of the population.”

The official narrative seems designed to conceal three inconvenient facts. Reynolds didn’t follow expert advice that could have prevented this summer’s explosive growth in cases. For months, she discouraged young, healthy Iowans from worrying about the virus. And despite her “#StepUpMaskUp” public relations campaign, Reynolds has failed to practice what she preaches when attending large gatherings herself.

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