Branstad backs department in certification flap

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is defending his administration’s oversight of Iowa’s emergency medical system, which has certified an emergency medical technician who has an extensive criminal record.

Branstad told The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/1a4iTZN) on Monday that he doesn’t want to micromanage the state Public Health Department. He says he respects the department managers’ “decision to allocate their priorities in the way they think is appropriate.”

The Register says the department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services certified Patrick Birgess, who volunteers as a firefighter in Hawarden.

Between 1988 and 2004 Birgess was convicted of drug possession, forgery, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct and other crimes.

Public Health Department spokesman Ken Sharp says Birgess has had no criminal convictions in nine years.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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