Gov. Branstad appoints new chief operating officer at IVH

The Iowa Veterans Home has a new chief operating officer, Gov. Terry Branstad’s office announced Tuesday.

Retired Brig. Gen. Jodi Tymeson, who testified at a State Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on the quality of care at IVH Monday, will assume the role May 28.

Tymeson served in the Army National Guard from 1974 to 2007 and formerly represented nearly 30,000 constituents as a state representative for Madison, Warren and Dallas Counties.

IVH Commandant David Worley said he looks forward to working with Tymeson.

“I believe she is going to bring a lot of good things,” he said.

In a press release issued by the governor’s office, the governor lauded Tymeson’s efforts as director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and said he would start searching for her replacement immediately.

The announcement came less than 24 hours after the conclusion of a hearing of the veterans affairs commission at the State Capitol where several long-time employees testified that Worley’s leadership style is detrimental to workplace morale at the 598-resident home. Many have called for his removal from his position as commandant.

Tim Albrecht, spokesperson for the governor, said the newly created position will focus on the day-to-day operations of the home to ensure the residents receive the highest level of care.

“(IVH is) a large enterprise that requires a sound management structure,” he said.

Albrecht denied that the heavy fire the commandant has come under lately influenced the decision to appoint Tymeson, who will interact with residents under Worley’s supervision. He said the creation of the position has been in the works for several weeks.

Tymeson’s respectability in the military community made her a standout choice, Albrecht said.

“In order to take the next step (in resident care) she will be vitally important,” he said.

Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, issued a statement applauding the governor’s decision to appoint Tymeson, saying it is a “positive, first step toward restoring confidence at the Iowa Veterans Home and ensuring the proper treatment of veterans and IVH employees.”

However, Sodders still echoed his comments from Monday’s hearing, saying the governor should put Worley on leave until a formal investigation can be completed.

Sodders said he has been in contact with the county attorney’s office about a possible investigation into Worley’s activities.

Although Tymeson’s salary has yet to be set, the range for her position is from $94,491 to $137,796 a year.