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Debi Durham to remain Iowa economic development head; also lead troubled IFA

January 8, 2019
Durham

DES MOINES -- Debi Durham will continue to lead Iowa’s economic development department and also will serve as director of the troubled Iowa Finance Authority in Gov. Kim Reynolds’ second term.

Durham, who has been director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority since January 2011, previously served as served as president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and Siouxland Initiative. She and her husband, Joe, have maintained their home in Sioux City since her appointment to the IEDA by then-Gov. Terry Branstad.

Tuesday, Reynolds said Durham’s extensive experience in state government and on economic issues will make her an asset to both departments.

Durham takes the helm of an Iowa Finance Authority that has been under fire for more than a year. Former director Dave Jamison was fired March 24 after multiple women employees alleged he sexually harassed them. The allegations brought further scrutiny of his leadership, including his decision to move the division to a new, leased space rather than renovating its current space.

A recent state audit also showed the Iowa Finance Authority made $549,399 in improper payments and expenses over more than two years during Jamison’s tenure. The 172-page report identified disbursements that were improper or did not meet “the test of public purpose” between January 2016 through March 2018.

Durham was one of several cabinet heads announced Tuesday by Reynolds, who won election to her first full term in November.

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