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Workers Reinstated in Ethics Case

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's executive branch has reinstated a purchasing officer after an arbitrator determined she was unfairly fired over accusations that she helped her family business obtain dozens of no-bid state contracts.

An arbitrator ruled that the Department of Administrative Services' firing of Lois Schmitz wasn't justified because she had no involvement in awarding contracts to her husband's construction company and had been advised in 2010 that she didn't have a conflict of interest.

Department spokesman Caleb Hunter says Schmitz will receive $87,000 in salary and $21,000 in benefits to replace compensation she lost while challenging her February 2013 firing.

Schmitz's attorney provided the previously confidential Dec. 31 ruling to The Associated Press. Schmitz argues that she acted ethically and was unfairly fired in retaliation for filing a complaint against her boss.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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