Iowa Human Services director resigns at Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request

There was significant administrative upheaval in Iowa on Monday as the head of that state’s largest governmental agency abruptly resigned his position without providing a reason.

Though full reasoning has yet to be revealed, it is known that the now-former director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services, Jerry Foxhoven, was asked to resign his post by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Resignation request

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported on Monday that Foxhoven abruptly resigned from his post as director after being on the job for only two years.

He was appointed by Reynolds in 2017 to take over the department, which was embroiled in controversy at the time, and though he has received praise from some for the work that he did to address the situation, it would appear that his efforts simply were not enough.

The controversies plaguing the agency included allegations of widespread abuse and mistreatment of residents at foster care homes and other institutions, as well as a rocky transition into a sort of privatized managed-care health care system from the previous state-run Medicaid program, among other things.

Interim replacement named

“It was an honor to serve Iowans at the Department of Human Services during an important time of transition,” Foxhoven said in a statement.

“I wish the many hardworking employees at the department the very best and know that they will continue to serve the people of Iowa well,” he added.

Reynolds’ office announced on Monday that the department would immediately be taken over on an interim basis by Gerd Clabaugh, who served as director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

New direction sought

KCCI reported on Tuesday that Reynolds’ office released another statement that provided a bit more information, though it still failed to provide a full explanation of why Foxhoven was asked to resign.

“Governor Reynolds asked Jerry Foxhoven to resign because she wanted to go in a new direction at the Department of Human Services,” said Pat Garrett, the governor’s spokesman.

“She has spent the first part of this year assembling a new team, from top to bottom, to carry out her vision. More changes will be announced in the coming days and weeks ahead,” he added.

It will be interesting to see if the new appointee by the governor, paired with the “new team” she has assembled for the department, will be able to satisfactorily handle that challenging tasks before them, or will also be forced out and replaced by somebody who can.

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