The lede of Rep. Mary Franson’s e-letter update is the continuing crisis within the Minnesota Department of Human Sacrifices Services. In her e-letter, Rep. Franson wrote “There has been a lot of news swirling around the Capitol in the last few weeks about disarray and drama in the Department of Human Services. DHS has been in the news all session because of the fraud found by the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor, which led to the inspector general, Carolyn Ham, being placed on leave. We recently heard that as of July 12, the investigation had not even started yet. Meanwhile, Ms. Ham had been paid $42,000 while on leave.”
Rep. Franson continued:
Around the same time, two senior DHS officials handed in their resignations, with very little warning and no explanation. Several days after that, Commissioner Tony Lourey resigned, also with no warning or explanation. When Governor Walz announced Lourey’s resignation, he also said that the investigation into Carolyn Ham had started, meaning, once they were called out publicly, they quickly began an investigation.
The day following Commissioner Lourey’s resignation, his chief of staff resigned, and then the next day, the first two senior DHS officials rescinded their resignations and were hired back to DHS.
All of this drama has been met with no explanation from the Governor or his staff. For an agency the size of DHS, which controls almost 30% of the state budget, this level of upheaval and drama with absolutely no explanation is unprecedented and unacceptable. The Governor owes the people of Minnesota an explanation as to what exactly is going on in his largest agency.
Thus far, Gov. Walz gets an F in transparency. Thus far, he’s the worst governor in Minnesota history in terms of explaining why this crisis happened. In fact, Gov. Walz even suggested that this isn’t that big of a deal and that it’s likely just his political opponents latest attempt to attack him.
Clearly, the resignation spree at DHS (Department of Human Services) isn’t ordinary. It’s extraordinary. The suspension of the Inspector General (IG) is a big deal because the IG is supposed to inspect whether the Department is doing what it’s required to do. The fact that the IG was suspended with pay pending investigation is troubling enough. The fact that it’s been 4 months since that suspension without the start of the investigation screams utter ineptitude and corruption.
If Gov. Walz doesn’t start taking this crisis seriously soon, we’ll have proof that he’s just another bureaucrat in an executive position.