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Governor says ex-DPS commissioner sparked “significant controversy”

(Radio Iowa) - Governor Terry Branstad says “stability and predictability” will be restored to the Iowa Department of Public Safety with an immediate change in agency leadership.

Brian London became the state’s public safety commissioner on October 8 of last year — and Branstad accepted his resignation last night.

“We had had some discussions several weeks ago about some of the concerns that we were hearing from many of the people in the Department of Public Safety and from the public generally about the leadership of the agency,” Branstad told reporters today in Coralville.

London sparked controversy almost from the moment he arrived in Des Moines with a reorganization of the Department of Public Safety. This summer London was sued by a long-time state agent who was fired after he reported the governor’s vehicle was speeding. The Philippines Ambassador to the United States recently asked London to apologize for comments he made about Filipinos and lie detector tests.

“There’s been significant controversy during the time that he has been there at the Department of Public Safety and he offered me his resignation and I accepted it last night,” Branstad said today.

Branstad has asked Larry Noble — who retired last summer — to come back and again lead the agency.

“I think, going forward, it’s important to have a leader that has the support and respect of the people in the agency,” Branstad said today in Coralville.

Noble was a long-time state trooper who served four years in the Iowa Senate before resigning from the senate in 2011 to become Branstad’s public safety commissioner.

Two Democrats in the legislature who are running for governor say Noble is a respected leader and a good choice for the job, but both Tyler Olson and Jack Hatch say Branstad needs to answer for how London mismanaged the agency for the past 11 months.