To the Editor,

Like most Iowans, I hate cronyism.

That’s why I was upset to find out that the state of Iowa has hired at least 990 employees since January 2007 without advertising their jobs. This happened under both Democratic and Republican Governors.

I’m not a fan of “friends hiring friends” for state jobs. That won’t get the best qualified candidates for government positions that involve millions of dollars and affect the basic rights of Iowans, our quality of life and our economic future.

For the last several months, I’ve investigated the hush money scandal and other problems with Iowa’s state government as a member of the Iowa Senate Government Oversight Committee.

In addition to cronyism in hiring, we also learned that some state contracts are being awarded on an essentially “no bid” basis. There is no doubt that this “no bid” approach resulted in some bad deals for Iowa taxpayers.

Last month, the Oversight Committee approved a series of reforms to address these issues. We recommended that the Iowa Legislature require all state agencies to conduct formal competitive bidding for construction projects above $100,000.

We also recommended a return to the policy of requiring transparent, knowledgeable and nonpartisan recommendations when it comes to major state construction projects. It was a mistake for Governor Branstad to eliminate this safeguard a few years ago.

When it comes to spending millions of state dollars, no Iowa Governor should be able to rig the system to reward their friends and political cronies.

Senator Brian Schoenjahn, Arlington, IA