(KWWL) -- Former Iowa Department of Public Health Communications Director Polly Carver-Kimm is suing the state for allegedly firing her for releasing too much information to the media.
She claims that her firing was an act of wrongful termination under the state's whistleblower law, and a violation of her right to freedom of speech.
Carver-Kimm was given the option to resign or be fired back in July during the midst of the ongoing state and nationwide pandemic. The reason given for her termination was "restructuring," but she believes it was because she was giving out too much information about COVID-19 to the media.
In a virtual news conference, she explained how in her 13 years handling open records requests from the media, she had never experienced anything like Governor Kim Reynolds' involvement with the COVID-19 response.
"Their involvement during this…this event…I was never given any explanation for that," said Polly Carver-Kimm.
Carver-Kimm claims information that would normally be given to the media, such as data related to the Test Iowa site, was withheld as it passed through the governor's office.
"I don't want to say that the public's health is in danger because of this. I just feel that there was a more open flow of information that could of benefited the public in their decision making about how they wanted to handle the pandemic. And that would come through providing information to the media," said Carver-Kimm.
She was fired just three days following the posting of an article by the Des Moines Register, assuming that this was "the last straw," since she provided the publicly available information. This article included data about pregnancy termination, and Carver-Kimm believes that it was embarrassing to Governor Reynolds.
Carver-Kimm believes the governor's office wanted to pick and choose what was revealed to the media because they were interested in pushing the governor's agenda.
"In my experience, the information that was provided was chosen carefully and had to be vetted several times by the governor's office even though it appeared to be simple data that we would normally provide," said Carver-Kimm.
The documents show Carver-Kimm is asking for compensation to cover the loss of wages and her pain and suffering as a result of her firing.
The state has responded previously that it does not comment on pending litigation.
SAB Claim Form state: