US official and Tupac superfan fired after emailing Shakur lyrics to all 4,300 colleagues

Colin Drury

He was well known among his staff as a Tupac Shakur superfan but it’s probably fair to say Jerry Foxhoven has had Better Dayz.

The high-flying director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services, in the US, has been ousted after two years of bombarding colleagues with emails quoting the late rapper’s lyrics.

The final straw is understood to have come last month when the 66-year-old fired off a message to all 4,300 staff instructing them to celebrate the Dear Mama singer’s birthday by listening to one song.

Kim Reynolds, state governor, asked him to resign the day after.

That Mr Foxhoven was inspired by the man known as 2Pac, he left people in no doubt.

During his tenure leading the department, he sent so many emails featuring the New York rapper’s name that, when printed out, they ran to 350 pages.

In one, he told colleagues they should use his lyrics as a mantra: “It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes.” In another, sent on Valentine’s Day, he shared a love line, along with an image of the smiling hip hop star.

The former law professor was also known for hosting weekly “Tupac Fridays” where his music was played in the office, and he marked his own 65th birthday with themed cookies, including ones decorated with the words “Thug life.”

At least one employee is said to have made an official complaint about the constant bombardment.

But, like the question of who fatally shot Shakur in Las Vegas in 1996, the reason for Foxhoven’s departure remains surrounded in some mystery.

A spokesman for the governor refused to confirm it was specifically because of his obsession.

“As the governor has said, a lot of factors contributed to the resignation of Jerry Foxhoven and now Gov Reynolds is looking forward to taking DHS in a new direction,” Pat Garrett told the Associated Press news agency.

The governor’s office refused to elaborate further – although the ousting came amid multiple other controversies involving the department including difficult contract negotiations with care companies, a trial detailing alleged mistreatment of boys at a state juvenile home, and a rise in deaths at a centre for the disabled.

Mr Foxhoven, himself, told AP that he believed the governor simply wanted to “go in a different direction”, but that he wasn’t given a reason for the resignation request.