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Iowa Workforce Chief Gave Judge Positive Reviews

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Documents show Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert approved positive performance evaluations for the agency's former top unemployment appeals judge, whom she publicly disparaged earlier this month.

Wahlert criticized Joe Walsh after he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit contending that Wahlert fired him for opposing her efforts to change his job into a political appointment.

Wahlert's agency issued a statement calling the lawsuit a frivolous attempt to shift attention from "the poor performance" of Walsh's appeals bureau. She accused him of failing to meet Department of Labor standards for deciding cases in a timely manner, among other things.

Walsh says he was stunned because Wahlert had never previously criticized his performance. Evaluations signed by Wahlert in 2012 and 2013 indicated Walsh was meeting expectations and improving the bureau's case efficiency.