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County employee’s misconduct was not ‘deliberate’

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The alleged misconduct that led Carroll County’s longtime general assistance director to resign under the threat of termination last month was not “willful or deliberate,” according to an unemployment benefits decision.

Rosemarie Stotts, 64, of Carroll, resigned from the job May 13. She had been on paid administrative leave for about a month as county leaders investigated an anonymous tip about her.

The county attributed the resignation to “non-compliance with the general assistance program,” but an initial Iowa Workforce Development decision sided with Stotts and said she can collect unemployment payments.

County Supervisor Rich Ruggles declined to comment on the decision but said the county is appealing it. Stotts could not be reached to comment for this article.

Stotts was the general assistance director for more than 13 years and earned an annual salary of about $21,500. In that job she oversaw the disbursement of about $25,000 annually to “poor” and “needy” people for rent, utilities, transportation, prescription medications and others.

The county supervisors have not yet decided who will assume those responsibilities. They have considered shifting them to another county office.

In the county’s appeal of the unemployment decision, County Attorney John Werden said, “Stotts resigned under threat of termination because of her misconduct.”

An administrative law judge will decide whether Stotts is eligible for unemployment benefits. It’s unclear when the appeal process will conclude.

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