from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart
former fire chief appeals a district court ruling holding the
Davenport Civil Service Commission did not have jurisdiction
to order the fire department to create a position for her.
Michael J. Carroll and Megan Flynn of Coppola, McConville,
Carroll, Hockenberg & Flynn, P.C., West Des Moines, for
Richard A. Davidson of Lane & Waterman LLP, Davenport,
Considered by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Vogel, S.J.
Washburn-Livingston (Washburn) seeks reversal of the district
court's finding the Davenport Civil Service Commission
(Commission) did not have jurisdiction to grant her continued
employment with the Davenport Fire Department. We find
Washburn's prior Illinois fire-fighter status did not
afford her Iowa civil service status. We affirm the district
Background Facts & Proceedings
2011, Washburn was appointed as Fire Chief for the City of
Davenport (City). Prior to her appointment, Washburn worked
for the Rockford, Illinois, fire department for nearly thirty
years and was serving as district chief when hired by the
City. Washburn retired from Rockford before starting as
Davenport Fire Chief.
letter offering Washburn the Iowa job specified the fire
chief position was at-will employment and required she obtain
certification on the civil service list for the position.
Washburn was certified on September 23, 2011. The offer
letter did not grant her civil service status or transfer her
Illinois status or benefits to Davenport. The offer letter
specified a severance package in the event of involuntary
separation but did not provide for continued employment at a
27, 2017, the City terminated Washburn as fire chief. Upon
removal from the position of fire chief, Washburn was not
employed by the City in any capacity.
August 9, Washburn filed a notice of civil service appeal
with the Commission, claiming she was entitled to a position
as district chief with the department after her removal as
fire chief pursuant to Iowa Code section 400.13(2) (2017).
The Commission found in her favor and ordered the City to
employ her in the classification of district chief.
City appealed to the district court. The court found the
Commission lacked jurisdiction to consider Washburn's
appeal and vacated the Commission's decision. Washburn