Paper Rips Walz on Lack of Transparency Over State Agency Meltdown

Governor Tim Walz may not “do drama” but his dramatics in attempting to avoid the accountability that comes with his office guarantee more of it. The Duluth News Tribune issued a blistering editorial ripping Walz for his cavalier attitude toward the meltdown at the state’s biggest agency while ducking responsibility.

There’s clearly more behind this story of Tony Lourey suddenly resigning as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services this week. It was a job Lourey had told the News Tribune Editorial Board just five months ago he was “tremendously honored” to be chosen for. The native of Kerrick, about 40 miles southwest of Duluth, commented with appreciation then about the “phenomenal trust being placed in me.”

But Lourey’s departure now comes just days after a pair of deputy commissioners abruptly resigned from the department without any public explanation whatsoever. And it quickly followed serious and deserved scrutiny of the administration of Gov. Tim Walz for being slow to investigate an inspector in the same department.

The editorial board was in no mood to let the Walz administration off the hook on the turmoil at the agency which controls one-third of the nearly $48 billion state budget.

Minnesota taxpayers want to know just what’s going on. We deserve to know. We have a right to know.

Lourey’s resignation letter to Walz offered few clues, however. “I believe a new leader is necessary to best execute your vision for human services,” blah, blah, blah, the respected former state senator wrote, hitting on mostly all the right words.

Then the paper made it personal, chiding Walz for thinking he could avoid taking ownership of the unfolding political mess.

Walz was even less forthcoming, telling reporters, “There’s going to be a desire to find more drama than is there; those of you that know me know that I don’t do drama. … I will take Commissioner Lourey at his word that he felt he was not the right person at this time.”

In only about half a year in office, this disappointingly wasn’t the first time Walz has sidestepped questions about his transparency — or lack thereof. And that was after the former congressman touted the quality to voters while campaigning to be governor.

The News Tribune listed several other worrisome instances of Walz evading transparency in his first few months on the job.

But readers of American Experiment’s Thinking Minnesota magazine already know Walz said one thing in the campaign before doing quite another once in the governor’s mansion. The title of our cover story says it all: “A Tale of Two Tims.”

It did not take long for Governor Walz to part ways with Candidate Walz. More importantly, the Governor has lurched left of the policies endorsed by Candidate Walz.

…The about-face of Governor Walz on the gas tax, Line 3, renewable energy, and mining disproportionately harms residents of Greater Minnesota.

The facts behind the turnover at the top of the state’s biggest agency will eventually come out. But unless Walz lets Minnesotans know what’s really going on, his credibility hangs in the balance.