A new boss at the RIO office

Lawmakers from both political parties have not been happy with operations in the Rebuild Iowa Office — the $19,000 for new carpeting, the salaries for staff, the hiring of a lobbyist. Rebuild Iowa Office chief of staff Emily Hajek testified before the House Rebuild Iowa Committee yesterday and she did not get boffo reviews from lawmakers in the room. She now has a new boss. Governor Culver's staff sent out the following release late this afternoon:


DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver announced today that Major General Ron Dardis, the retiring commander of the Iowa National Guard, will serve as Executive Director of the Rebuild Iowa Office effective February 9.

As Executive Director, General Dardis will oversee all operational, administrative, executive and legislative functions of the Rebuild Iowa Office. General Dardis will begin as the acting Executive Director next week; his new role will be formalized following the transition to Colonel Timothy Orr as the Guard's new Adjutant General.

A member of the Iowa National Guard for more than 40 years, most recently serving as Adjutant General, General Dardis was appointed by the Governor as Chairman of the Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission following last summer's floods and storms.

"When General Dardis announced that he was retiring as commander of the Iowa National Guard, we knew his service to our state was not over," said Governor Culver. "General Dardis was one of the first people I turned to in order to lead our efforts to rebuild Iowa after this year's historic storms, and we are all fortunate that he will continue to serve in this important role for our state."

"It has been my privilege to chair the Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission, and I deeply realize the magnitude of this historic disaster and the importance of the Rebuild Iowa Office mission," said General Dardis. "I look forward to working closely with the Governor, Lt. Governor, and legislature as we work together to move Iowa forward in the rebuilding process, and make our state even stronger for the future."

The Rebuild Iowa Office was created by Executive Order 7, signed by Governor Culver on June 27, 2008. The purpose of the office is to coordinate all state activities concerning the rebuilding efforts following last year's natural disasters throughout Iowa.

To date, more than $1.5 billion in federal, state and private funds have been committed to Iowa's rebuilding efforts.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.