DES MOINES -- Debi Durham will continue to lead the troubled Iowa Finance Authority, as well as the state's economic development efforts in Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds' new term.
Durham, who has been director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority since January 2011, previously served as president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and The Siouxland Initiative.
Durham took over as interim head of the Iowa Finance Authority after former director David Jamison was fired March 24 amid accusations of sexual assault and lewd behavior.
Reynolds on Tuesday named Durham as the full-time director of the agency, which administers low-income housing programs. Durham also will continue to oversee the state Economic Development Authority, which handles incentives for businesses and job attraction.
“I am humbled to continue serving and want to thank Gov. Reynolds for the opportunity to work in her administration,” Durham said in a statement. “I look forward to partnering with the professional teams at both IEDA and IFA to help our state grow by prioritizing job creation and community investment. Together, we will find innovative ways to ensure our state’s economy and communities remain strong.”
Jamison's departure became an Iowa case study in sexual harassment during a national movement of women emboldened to speak out under the banner #MeToo. His staff accused him of openly using sexually explicit language, describing female employees in crude terms and showing pornography to workers. He also faced accusations of unwanted sexual advances.
Reynolds, a friend of Jamison's, disavowed him after the matter became a political issue, and said she would have fired him long ago if she were aware of his actions.
Last month, a state auditor’s report found the finance authority misused nearly $550,000 during Jamison’s tenure, including $328,000 in payroll expenses deemed questionable. Some employees who brought claims of misbehavior received large pay raises, leading to a suggestion Jamison sought to buy their silence with taxpayer dollars.
The audit also focused on his decision to move the division to a new, leased space rather than renovating its current space.
Durham, a Joplin, Missouri, native, joined the Siouxland Chamber as director of government and public affairs in 1994. She was named president a year later, the first woman to hold the post.
In 2002, Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Gross selected Durham as his running mate. After then-Gov. Terry Branstad appointed her as director of the IEDA in January 2011, Durham and her and her husband, Joe, have maintained their home in Sioux City. Debi Durham shared an apartment in Des Moines with Reynolds while she was the lieutenant governor.
As Reynolds begins her first full term, she also named eight additional cabinet members Tuesday.
Stephan Bayens - Department of Public Safety
Bayens' experience includes work as an assistant attorney with federal prosecutors and Polk County. He also worked for the Iowa Attorney General’s office.
Dan Craig - Department of Corrections
Craig is temporarily oversee the state's prison system while a national search for a full-time director is underway. Craig has spent more than three decades in corrections, including as the deputy director of corrections.
Joyce Flinn - Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Flinn is taking over the office that responds to security concerns and natural disasters. She was appointed in June, and also has worked as the agency’s chief of operations.
Jeff Franklin - Office of Chief Information Officer
Franklin is taking over as the interim director of the office that manages the state’s information technology matters. He was deputy information officer with the agency, and worked for the Department of Administrative Services.
Adam Humes - Department of Revenue
Humes will lead the state’s tax-collecting agency. He was the agency’s deputy director, and previously worked as assistant to the Iowa attorney general.
Chris Kramer - Department of Cultural Affairs
Kramer will continue to lead the department that "connect Iowans to people, places and points of pride that define our state," according to its website. She has been acting director since August 2017 and was formerly its deputy director. She has served as vice president of the Science Center of Iowa, a downtown Des Moines museum.
Matt Strawn - Iowa Lottery
Strawn founded a public affairs consulting firm and formerly was the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.
Dale Woolery - Department of Drug Control Policy
Woolery as worked with the drug control policy office for 24 years, according to the governor’s office, most recently as its associate director. The agency oversees drug enforcement and substance abuse treatment policy efforts.
The Journal's Dave Dreeszen contributed to this story.