Deputy Iowa labor commissioner leaving amid changes, turmoil

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s deputy labor commissioner says she is retiring, the latest shakeup after months of turmoil at the state agency that protects workers.

Pam Conner told Division of Labor employees in an email Friday afternoon that she will retire next week. Her longtime boss, Labor Commissioner Michael Mauro, announced last month that he is retiring April 1.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed Rod Roberts to replace Mauro, who had four years left on his six-year term. The commissioner oversees the Iowa Occupational Health and Safety Administration and other safety programs.

The changes come after months of turmoil that have prompted at least three firings and one forced retirement, allegations of retaliation and a state whistleblower inquiry.

Critics say Mauro and Conner ran the office like a “clique” in which friends were rewarded and critics were punished.