More details continue to unfold in the House Government Oversight’s Iowa Communications Network investigation. In the two previous hearings, we heard testimony from State Auditor Mary Mosiman, Phil Groner — Acting Executive Director of ICN and Mark Johnson Chief Administration Officer of ICN.
Last week we heard additional testimony from Commissioner Richard Bruner — Chair of Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission (ITTC) that oversees the Iowa Communications Network and Commissioner Timothy L. Lapointe of the ITTC.
Commissioner Bruner began his opening comments with a brief history of ICN and a synopsis of the details surrounding the need for an investigation of the activities of former ICN Executive Director Richard Lumbard.
Commissioner Lapointe then addressed the Committee to explain the role of the ITTC in giving oversight and their immediate actions taken to prevent future problems. He led with, “As Commissioners, we take our role of oversight very seriously.” He indicated that they did not wait to begin changing internal policies to establish better safeguards. When the Auditor’s report was released detailing steps that ICN in particular could take to minimize further instances like the Lumbard scandal, once again, ITTC took up those recommendations swiftly.
Commissioner Lapointe made it clear that Lumbard had an impressive resume, he was talented and a visionary for ICN. Because of Lumbard’s forward-thinking management, he personally saw to winning new contracts and ICN had a positive cash flow in the last seven of 10 years due to Lumbard’s ability. Lapointe commented, “He (Lumbard) did so much traveling and meeting with customers that the ICN Board overlooked some expenditures as just necessary for his numerous trips.”
Several representatives asked probing questions as to how Mr. Lumbard was able to make larger or unprecedented purchases without anyone checking into those expenditures and why no one suspected him of any wrongdoing. The Commissioners both explained that Richard Lumbard was a highly-skilled individual and clever in how he disguised his actions, and therefore able to circumvent any existing protocols.
Government Oversight Chairman Bobby Kaufmann has taken the recommendations of Auditor Mosiman and filed HSB 675 to deal with employee reprisal when confidential disclosures are made before or during an audit. It is the Committee’s hope that this legislation will encourage staff in other areas of state government to confidently come forward with any instances of wrongdoing, as well.
Please feel free to contact me with your issues or concerns as they arise. I appreciate and welcome your comments and feedback. Also, if you would like to subscribe to my weekly e-newsletter, please send a quick note via email and I’ll put you on the list.
I consider it a great honor to serve and represent you in the Iowa Legislature.
Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Columbia,
represents Iowa House District 28, including areas of Jasper, Marion and Lucas counties.
Contact him at 641-218-0185