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Walz issues written reprimand to IRRR Commissioner

Gov. Tim Walz Photo: courtesy of the Office of Gov. Tim Walz & Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan
Gov. Tim Walz

April 26, 2019 10:23 AM

Gov. Tim Walz has issued a written reprimand to Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Commissioner Mark Phillips over the process that led to the hiring of former 8th District DFL Congressional candidate Joe Radinovich for a senior policy advisor position with the agency.

The hiring came under scrutiny, and Radinovich announced Thursday that he was resigning from the position, a release from the agency confirmed.

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His resignation is effective next Tuesday.

"It's my intent to refocus the public's attention on the important mission of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation through my action today," Radinovich said in Thursday's release.

Duluth TV station WDIO reported Walz's office said it was not involved in the decision to hire Radinovich for the $100,000 job. Some lawmakers accused IRRR of disregarding the hiring process when they hired him over a potentially more qualified candidate. 

RELATED: Radinovich to resign from Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation post

Walz's letter of reprimand was also critical of the process used.

"The process you used for this position, while following permitted procedures, failed to meet my expectations," it read in part. "MMB's Job Announcement Policy's requirement that all classified positions be posted competitively for at least seven days and recommendation that such positions be posted for 21 days are designed to ensure inclusiveness, openness, and transparency in the hiring process for classified positions. It was inappropriate for you to seek to vary from MMB's requirements in this case. 

"It was also inappropriate to use my Office as your stated rationale for requesting an exception from MMB. My Office never directed you to request a shortened posting period or otherwise vary from ordinary hiring procedures."

The letter goes on to say that Walz has directed MMB to amend its job announcement policy "to require a 21-day posting period for all classified managerial positions like this one."

"As I do with all members of my Cabinet, I expect you to model openness, transparency, inclusivity, and servant leadership," the letter concluded. "In this situation, you fell far short of my expectations."

WDIO reported State Rep. Sandy Layman, R-Cohasset, issued a statement on Radinovich's resignation Thursday.

"This is an appropriate step that will help restore the credibility of (Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation)," it read. "I care deeply about improving and maintaining the integrity and reputation of (Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation) because it does critical work for the residents of the Iron Range. 

"This incident was embarrassing for the organization, and I have many questions that still need to be answered about the process and the involvement of the governor's office."


 

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