IOWA CITY, Iowa — A deputy Iowa prison warden who was fired in March has been reinstated and awarded $40,000 in back pay, a raise and additional vacation and sick time, records show.
The Iowa Department of Corrections fired Michael Kane as deputy warden of the maximum-security prison in Anamosa for alleged rules violations that haven’t been released. But the state reversed its decision last month, reinstating Kane with full pay and benefits and moving him to a $104,000-a-year administrative job in its offender services division in Coralville.
“I went through a tough period there, working for the department that long. But I’m glad for the outcome,” Kane told The Associated Press. He said his current job involves overseeing records on inmates’ sentence reductions for good behavior and that he expects to soon receive additional duties.
The Department of Administrative Services refused to release records showing why Kane was terminated and why the state backed off. Disciplinary records are exempt from Iowa’s open records law under a state Supreme Court decision, spokeswoman Tami Wiencek said.
Kane, who started in 1995 as a correctional officer and later rose into management, said he couldn’t comment on details of his case. But he confirmed that he had appealed his firing through a grievance process for merit employees. Lower-level managers rejected Kane’s earlier appeals, but a state human resources official reversed the termination.
The reinstatement meant that Kane retroactively received the same 2.3 percent pay raise that other state employees received July 1, pushing his hourly salary to $49.90. In addition to receiving back pay of $40,000, he also received 74 hours of vacation and 55 hours of sick time that he would have accrued had he never been fired, according to payroll records exclusively obtained by The Associated Press under the open records law.
Kane had spent only months at Anamosa, considered one of the state’s most dangerous prisons, before his termination. Previously, he was deputy warden at the Fort Dodge Correctional Institution.
Another supervisor at Anamosa, Capt. Molly Champeau, said Thursday she continues to appeal a 10-day suspension she received in April for allegedly violating work rules.
Champeau has admitted to carrying out a plan to try to catch an inmate masturbating by stationing a female correctional officer near his cell as “bait.” A second officer was directed to go to a level above to look down and catch the inmate in the act. Champeau has said the female officer “went beyond her directive” by shaking her body, records show.
A state official rejected Champeau’s appeal in June, saying she violated rules by trying to entice the inmate. The Public Employment Relations Board will now hear the case.
Champeau said that incident and another in which she’s accused of improperly moving an inmate without restraints have been blown out of proportion. “It’s a mess,” she said.