Official: Politics played a role in court layoffs

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s top courts administrator is acknowledging that layoffs of court reporters in 2009 were limited to those who worked for judges with the least power to limit the political fallout.

David Boyd said Thursday that court reporters who worked for district associate judges were targeted for layoffs because their bosses had less power than district judges, who are appointed by the governor.

He says spreading the layoffs among all court reporters could have been done, but would have “created more angst.”

Boyd elaborated on comments he made in a deposition taken last month as part of a lawsuit in which court reporters claim their layoffs violated a state law that says they can only be fired for cause. He says the layoffs were justified because of budget concerns.