Lourey out as Walz's Department of Human Services commissioner

Updated: July 15, 2019 06:50 PM

Gov. Tim Walz's Human Services commissioner has resigned just six months after being appointed.

The governor's office announced Tony Lourey's resignation on Monday without explanation. He leaves just days after two deputy commissioners announced their departures — also without explanation.


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Lourey was a Democratic state senator when Walz named him in January to head up one of the state's biggest agencies. But Human Services has been under fire for its handling of alleged fraud, data breaches and other administrative problems.

"I believe a new leader is necessary to best execute your vision for human services and continue the critical work of improving the health of Minnesotans across the state," Tony Lourey wrote in his resignation letter to Gov. Walz on Monday morning.

Walz said about Lourey in a statement: 'Tony is passionate about improving the health care of Minnesotans, and I am proud of what we accomplished together this legislative session.'

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said of Lourey's resignation: 'The abrupt, unexplained departures of the top three officials at DHS in the past week is deeply troubling, and indicative of turmoil at our largest state agency. Minnesotans deserve answers and transparency from Governor Walz about what's going on.'

The recent departures at the Minnesota Department of Human Services are important because DHS is the largest agency in the state and is responsible for billions of dollars in taxpayer money.

Walz said in a statement that Pam Wheelock would take over as acting commissioner. Wheelock was commissioner of finance under Gov. Jesse Ventura.

"I think a very candid and I think a very raw letter from Commissioner Lourey simply acknowledged that he was the wrong person to lead this agency at this time," said Walz.

Daudt also addressed the resignations, saying it's a big deal.

"We're not going to judge why this happened, until we need to know the facts," said Rep. Daudt. "We believe Minnesotans deserve to know the facts, when you have the top three people in an agency resigning with in the course of seven days, or whatever it is, that's a big deal."

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The Associated Press

(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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