from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rebecca
Goodgame Ebinger, Judge.
former employee appeals the district court's denial of
his petition for writ of certiorari, claiming he was denied
his rights under the Veterans Preference Act. AFFIRMED.
J. Duff of Duff Law Firm, P.L.C., West Des Moines, and
Elizabeth Flansburg of Lawyer, Dougherty, Palmer &
Flansberg P.L.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meghan Gavin, Jeffrey C.
Peterzalek, and Matthew Oetker, Assistant Attorneys General,
by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]
Machamer appeals the district court's denial of his
petition for writ of certiorari. Machamer claims the Iowa
Department of Administrative Services (DAS) violated the Iowa
Veterans Preference Act (the Act) by denying him a hearing
before he was terminated from his position. See Iowa
Code ch. 35C (2015). In this appeal, he asserts the district
court wrongly concluded he was exempt from the protections of
the Act as a "person holding a strictly confidential
relation to the appointing officer." See id
Background Facts and Proceedings.
March 2015, Machamer accepted the position of Chief of the
Organizational Performance Bureau for the Human Resource
Enterprise of the DAS. A month later, Machamer was asked to
resign his position, effective immediately, after allegations
were made that Machamer made inappropriate statements during
a staff meeting. After resigning his position, Machamer filed
a petition for writ of certiorari with the district court
asserting the DAS; its director, Janet Phipps; and its chief
operating officer and general counsel, Karin Gregor, violated
the Act by failing to provide him due notice of the charges
supporting termination and a hearing. See id. §
35C.6 (noting no person protected by the Act "shall be
removed from such position or employment except for
incompetency or misconduct shown after a hearing, upon due
notice, upon stated charges"). The defendants filed an
answer in which they asserted the Act was not applicable to
Machamer because he was a "person holding a strictly
confidential relation to the appointing officer" and he
was a deputy of the chief operating officer.
the parties submitted briefs and made arguments at the
hearing, the district court issued its decision denying the
petition for writ of certiorari. The court determined
Machamer was a person holding a "strictly confidential
relation" to Phipps, as the appointing authority,
because "Machamer's duties and supervisory tasks
demonstrate that his position required 'skill, judgment,
trust, and confidence' and [he] was 'not merely
clerical.'" The court also, alternatively, concluded
Machamer was a deputy under section 35C.8, which also made
him exempt from the protections of the Act.
appeals asserting he is neither a deputy nor in a strictly
confidential relationship with Phipps.
Scope and Standard of Review.
review of the district court's denial of a petition for
writ of certiorari is for correction of errors at law.
Frank Hardie Advert., Inc. v. City of Dubuque Zoning Bd.
of Adjustment, 501 N.W.2d 521, 523 (Iowa 1993).
"[R]eview by an appellate court is limited to
determining whether the district court properly applied the
law to the controversy before it." Id.