- Associated Press - Monday, August 7, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of the agency that oversees Iowa’s flagship history museum is leaving the job.

Mary Cownie announced Monday her last day as director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs will be Aug. 17. Deputy Director Chris Kramer will serve as acting director in the interim.

Cownie, who was appointed in January 2011 by former Gov. Terry Branstad, attempted over several years to seek money from the Legislature to pay for extensive renovations to the State Historical Museum in Des Moines. The effort stalled amid state budget constraints.

Cownie last year defended using infrastructure-designated money to pay for a portion of her salary and the salaries of Kramer and another staffer. The move was legal, though lawmakers later passed a budget bill requiring more transparency about such funding uses.

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