Branstad says ex-public safety commissioner given “plenty of chances” to succeed

(Radio Iowa) – The man who served as the state’s public safety commissioner for the past 11 months tells The Cedar Rapids Gazette that working for the State of Iowa has “destroyed” his reputation.

Brian London resigned a week ago after a face-to-face meeting with Governor Branstad. London told The Cedar Rapids Gazette he had talked with the governor’s chief of staff just two weeks before, asking if it would be wise for him to buy a $428,000 house in West Des Moines. London says he was given no hint he’d soon be out of a job. The governor sees it differently.

“Well, actually he had offered to resign back in August,” Branstad told reporters today during a telephone conference call. “I said I wanted to wait before making a decision on that.”

London, who has stints with the Secret Service, INTERPOL and the CIA on his resume, told the newspaper “Iowa has destroyed” him professionally because he’s been characterized as a “horrible manager” as well as a “racist bigot.” According to London, he was never “given a chance” to succeed. Branstad rejects that, too.

“I think we gave him plenty of chances,” Branstad said, “and, in fact, there were a lot of people that said we should have gotten rid of him sooner.”

Branstad told reporters this morning he prefers to “look ahead” and he’s chosen the “right guy” to step in and lead the agency. Branstad asked Larry Noble, who retired last summer as the state’s public safety commissioner, to return to the job last Wednesday morning.

“Brian London has a great resume,” Branstad said. “…There’s a lot of turmoil and a lot of problems in that department that I think Larry Noble is already addressing in a very effective way.”

Noble told reporters last week there was “no fixing” to do in the agency and, when asked about “turmoil” in the department, Noble said that was the reporter’s description of events, not his.