from the Iowa District Court for Jones County, Kevin
appeals the judicial review order upholding the grant of
unemployment benefits to a former employee. AFFIRMED.
Douglas D. Herman, Monticello, for appellant.
Richard R. Autry of Employment Appeal Board, Des Moines, for
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.
City of Monticello challenges the Employment Appeal
Board's award of unemployment benefits to Tamera Bartram,
the former parks and recreation director. The city contends
Bartram is ineligible for benefits because she voluntarily
ended her employment without good cause attributable to the
city. In the alternative, the city argues Bartram cannot
receive benefits because she refused an offer to work.
the district court on judicial review, we reject the
city's arguments. Substantial evidence supports finding
the city eliminated Bartram's position and the agency
correctly applied the law to the facts. And the
refusal-to-work disqualification does not apply because the
city's offers were outside the benefit year. Thus, we
affirm the award of benefits.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
started working for the city in 2003 and became director of
the parks and recreation department in 2004. In December
2016, the city administrator notified Bartram he planned to
eliminate her position. In its place, the city would create
two new positions: a parks and recreation director and a
superintendent of parks and facilities. The city invited
Bartram to apply for either position if she wished to remain
employed. Bartram applied only for the director position.
When she learned the city "gave that job to somebody
else," she cried. She testified: "It told me that I
wasn't worth what I had been doing all these years"
and, "Honestly, I thought they just wanted to get rid of
city did offer Bartram the superintendent position. But she
declined. Despite the city's repeated attempts, Bartram
could not be persuaded to accept the superintendent position.
Bartram worked until the city eliminated her position on
February 28, 2017.
her employment ended, Bartram filed a claim for unemployment
benefits. In March 2017, a representative of Iowa Workforce
Development (IWD) denied her claim, stating "our records
indicate you voluntarily quit work on 02/28/17." The IWD
cited Iowa Code section 96.5(1) (2017) as the basis for her
disqualification from receipt of benefits.
appealed the IWD decision to an administrative law judge
(ALJ) who overturned the disqualification and found Bartram
eligible for unemployment benefits. The ALJ wrote:
Claimant applied for the director position, but was notified
in January that someone else had been offered the job.
Claimant was offered the superintendent position, which would
have included much of the same job duties, at the same rate
of pay and benefits she was currently receiving. Claimant
turned that position down. Claimant was told the new director
would be starting on March 1 and agreed to stay on in her
current position until that time. ...