Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

Previous Posts


March 16, 2017

Sullivan’s Salvos     3/21/17

In this edition:

*Picking on the Poor
*GOP Attack on Local Control
*”Our” Road
*Family Vacation
*Did You Know?

*Picking on the Poor
Talk about sleeping with the enemy... the Iowa Association of Community Providers is fighting to lower the minimum wages in Polk, Linn, Johnson, and Wapello Counties.

The IACP includes human services agencies that serve people with mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities. Johnson County has often fought side by side with them when it comes to greater funding for services.

In fairness to these providers, Medicaid caps how much they are paid. It is tough to raise wages without a corresponding increase in income. We have spoken about this at length. I spent several hours with local providers before the first Johnson County increase went into effect. We still have the Business Manager from Systems Unlimited on our Minimum Wage Advisory Committee. More importantly, Johnson County actively argues for greater Medicaid reimbursement for provider agencies.

But despite our decades-long record of working with these agencies, they chose to help the GOP maintain lower wages. Instead of working with the progressive counties that had always had their backs, the providers sided with their good friend Branstad. (Yes, he of Medicaid privatization.)

This is what is truly amazing. Governor Branstad has NEVER been a friend to these agencies. That was never clearer than when he chose to privatize Medicaid. But there was IACP, at his side in the fight for lower wages. It is a sell-out of epic proportions!

I spoke to Executive Director Shelly Chandler, and she confirmed that they oppose HF295. (Which also disallows protections for people with disabilities in local human rights ordinances!) The IACP is in a race to the bottom. While counties have fought for higher wages for people who provide this important care, the IACP has chosen to sleep with the enemy.

Management (in this case, those represented by the IACP) always tries to convince working people that the enemy is the person earning slightly more than you. The real enemy is organizations that use Medicaid money to pay lobbyists to advocate for lower wages for the people who serve our most vulnerable citizens!

Think about this for just a moment. The people served by IACP members are our brothers and sisters. Do we really want the people caring for them to be paid $7.25? It is shameful! IACP has chosen to use our brothers and sisters as pawns in a play against their caretakers. Unbelievable!

I hope SEIU, the Teamsters, and others look at IACP members as targets for future union organizing campaigns. Their employees should be ripe, knowing that management has conspired to keep statewide wages low.

Shelly – there is a special place in hell for those who would pit the very poorest among us (Medicaid recipients) against those who earn poverty-level wages caring for them. I have no words to describe how vile your stance is on this issue.

My advice to agencies that are members of the Iowa Association of Community Providers? Drop your memberships. You are on the wrong side of this argument, and the wrong side of history.

*GOP Attack on Local Control
Ankeny State Senator Jack Whitver, writing in the Des Moines Register: “Senate Republicans want to make sure Iowa’s state and local governments have the tools necessary to provide services while executing their responsibilities effectively and efficiently for the Iowa taxpayer. It is imperative we are always looking at ways to make the public sector more nimble, economically sound and responsive to the needs of Iowans throughout the state.”

What a load of crap! If Whitver REALLY wanted us to have “tools” and be “nimble”, there is NO WAY he would support HF295, which guts local control.

There are plenty of lies being told by Republicans in the Iowa Legislature, but this statement is so mendacious that it deserves to be called out separately for being such a bold lie.

         HF295 not only removes our minimum wage legislation, but also our Human Rights Ordinance! This is shameful, cruel, and petty.

*”Our” Road
         I grew up on a farm, way out in the country, on a gravel road. And I still refer to that gravel road as, “our” road. Why wouldn’t I? That road was the only way out, and the only way home. It was our personal lifeline. It was “our” road.

         In reality, however, the road I grew up on was not “our” road; it belonged to all the people of the County. Almost every road in Johnson County is publically owned, and therefore the property of all of us.

         Even though almost every road is a public good, the people who live on certain roads assume an extra level of ownership. Oftentimes, this can result in unrealistic expectations.

         For example, I sometimes get calls asking me to, “Keep those outsiders off our road.” Sorry, but that is not how it works with public roadways. Any driver can travel the road, any time she pleases.

I get it; I have done the exact same thing my whole life. But we need to remember – the road belongs to ALL of us.

*Family Vacation
         With state and federal politics going to hell, we all need family now more than ever. That has been particularly hard for me as of late, as two of my kids have moved far away.

         That is why Spring Break this past week was wonderful! We drove to Memphis to pick up our daughter Jordan, who works with at-risk children in the Memphis area.

         Then we continued on to Disney World in Orlando, where our son BJ works. We took full advantage of his connections, and had a great time staying and playing at the parks. Honestly, I am not much into that type of stuff. But it was just so good to see BJ in his element!

         So, the vacation was great! Both kids live in fun and exciting places, and are doing things they enjoy. They are responsible young adults. I am immensely proud of both of them.

But I have to be honest – I would give up absolutely anything just to have them closer. Yes, I know it is selfish. I am just being honest here.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Disney World is larger than Manhattan! Yet Walt Disney purchased the 48 square miles of Florida swampland now home to Disney World for just $5 million dollars.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line.

As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home