DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- One day after a state Senate hearing aired complaints about management of the Iowa Veterans Home, Gov. Terry Branstad appointed a top aide to serve in a newly created leadership post at the institution.
Branstad announced Tuesday that Jodi Tymeson will become chief operating officer of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown. Tymeson will step down from her current position as head of the state Department of Veterans Affairs.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said the appointment is not in response to complaints about the management of the home. Albrecht said Tymeson will work with David Worley, the commandant of the home.
"This new management structure has been in the works for weeks in order to ensure long-term, high quality care for Iowa's veterans," Albrecht said in an emailed statement.
Still, some state lawmakers hailed the appointment as a positive response to concerns raised over the leadership at the home.
"I see that as good news," said Sen. Daryl Beall, D-Ford Dodge, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "I think the governor is obviously hearing the concerns."
During more than two hours of testimony before the committee Monday, former employees said top managers of the home treated staff poorly and were not providing good care to veterans.
Worley defended his work and invited lawmakers to come visit the home themselves. Branstad has offered his support for Worley.
Beall said the panel will meet again to decide what action to take. He said some members favor referring the matter to the Senate Government Oversight Committee, which he said has the power to subpoena witnesses.
Tymeson served as a brigadier general in the Iowa Army National Guard before retiring in 2007 after 33 years of service. She served as a state representative from 2001 to 2010 before joining the Branstad administration in 2011. Her current salary is $84,750. Her new salary has not been set, but will be in the range of $94,491 to $137,096.
The home in Marshalltown is Iowa's largest nursing home and among the biggest in the nation for veterans and their spouses. The home is made up of two separate facilities. One provides nursing care for about 500 residents. The other is a residential care facility where 100 more people live mostly independently.