Sodders may take governor to court over Toledo closure

Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, continues to fight over the decision by Gov. Terry Branstad to close the Iowa Juvenile Home and the State Training School for Girls in Toledo.

Sodders said some attorneys are helping him look into Iowa code to see if the governor has the power to close this type of facility without approval of the Legislature.

“If we feel he’s overstepped his bounds we may take him to court to stop it,” Sodders said.

With more than 90 state workers facing a pink slip in January as a result of the decision to close the facilities, Sodders said he is hoping these workers get some assistance. Sodders has called for the Iowa Workforce Development office to send the rapid response coordinator for a local meeting to see what services could be provided to these employees.

Branstad decided to close the facilities this week due to what he said were significant problems in serving these youth.

“We need to bring in statewide resources and experience,” Sodders said. “I will be working to see that these former state workers can return to the workforce as quickly as possible.”

Sodders said he also has been in contact with Iowa Valley Community College District officials to see how they can help these fired workers with training or finding a path to employment.

Sodders said the Toledo employees off duty at the time of the closure announcement were not called in and had to hear about the closure from the media.

“That is another example of poor management,” Sodders said.

He continues to be in contact with the employees.

“The employees know both Rep. (Dean) Fisher, R-Garwin, and I are fighting for them,” Sodders said. “They feel blindsided by this.”