Iowa Public Health Department spokesperson says she was ousted for being too open with the media

Iowa Department of Public Health
Iowa Department of Public Health(KCRG)
Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 10:42 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Polly Carver-Kimm, the former spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Health, said she believes she was ousted on Wednesday for sharing coronavirus information with the media too aggressively.

The Des Moines Register reports Carver-Kimm said she is “embarrassed and saddened” at the treatment of the media during the pandemic.

The current health department spokeswoman, Amy McCoy, defended the department’s communications in regard to the coronavirus. McCoy told the Des Moines Register in an email that the Iowa Department of Public Health has gone above and beyond to provide comprehensive information throughout the pandemic.

But Carver-Kimm believes her attempts to keep the media informed about the coronavirus played a role in her removal. That’s because she was removed from handling media inquiries about the coronavirus in late March. She was also later removed from the task of informing the public about it as well.

Carver-Kimm had served as the department’s spokesperson for 12 years, but that didn’t stop Department Director Gerd Clabaugh from telling Carver-Kimm on Wednesday that she had to choose to either resign or be fired.

She chose to resign.

While Carver-Kimm does acknowledge there was talk of merging some functions with the Iowa Department of Human Services, and that Clabaugh told her it was because of restructuring, Carver-Kimm still believes her attempts to provide reporters information played a role in the decision.

Carver-Kimm told the Des Moines Register she also thinks Gov. Reynolds’ office has limited the department’s messaging. That’s because Reynolds’ staff recently started requiring media requests to be funneled through the governor’s office - a move Carver-Kimm said she’s never had happen in any administration she’s worked for.

See the full story on The Des Moines Register’s website.

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