- Associated Press - Thursday, February 2, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former high-ranking Iowa judge who was laid off in 2013 after he opposed efforts to make his job a political appointment.

Judge Michael Huppert’s ruling last month didn’t address the merits of claims made by Joe Walsh, former chief Administrative Law Judge in Iowa Workforce Development.

Instead, Huppert ruled that Walsh failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit, saying he should’ve pursued his complaint through the Public Employment Relations Board. Walsh is expected to appeal.

Then-Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert changed Walsh’s job into an at-will political appointment in 2013. After Walsh complained that the change violated federal law, Wahlert reversed the decision but then eliminated Walsh’s job, citing budgetary reasons. Walsh contends that was a pretext and he was fired for opposing Wahlert’s efforts to pressure judges to favor employers in unemployment benefits disputes.

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