Emails show the governor’s office potentially asked for Pedati’s 45% pay raise during pandemic

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 7:01 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Emails, which KCRG-TV9′s i9 investigative unit received through a public records request, show a staff member from the governor’s office was the first one to propose State Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati’s pay raise.

Paul Trombino III, who serves as the chief operating officer for the governor’s office and acting director of Administrative Services, first requested a salary review for Pedati on June 17. Almost two weeks later, Trombino proposed to Kelly Garcia to adjust Pedati’s salary to around $240,000. According to the emails, after a conversation with Garcia and Trombino, Pedati’s salary was adjusted to around $265,000. It was around a 45% increase compared to her previous salary of $183,310.

Garcia, who is the interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, originally told The Des Moines Register she was the one who proposed the raise.

Matt Highland, who gave TV9 a statement on behalf of the department of public health, said the raise occurred after Garcia and Trombino had a conversation about a potential pay inequity for Pedati.

“They pulled data and compared Dr. Pedati’s salary to the salaries of other physicians employed by the state," Highland said. “Including physicians within the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). There was a clear inequity.”

One document in the emails showed three doctors who work at DHS making over $270,000. However, some also had more than twice the experience of Pedati.

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