- Associated Press - Monday, July 15, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Latest on Department of Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey’s resignation (all times local):

11:50

Gov. Tim Walz says Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey resigned because he felt he didn’t have the right skill set to continue leading Minnesota’s largest state agency.

Walz praised the former state senator for shepherding the agency’s budget through this year’s legislative session and preventing the expiration of a tax on health care providers that funds health programs. But he said Lourey told him over the weekend that he didn’t think he was the right person to continue leading the agency going forward. The governor gave few details on why.

Lourey’s resignation followed the unexplained resignations last week of his two deputy commissioners. The governor said he’d defer on their future to Acting Commissioner Pam Wheelock, who starts Tuesday. But he said neither deputy was packing up their offices Monday.



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10:35 a.m.

Legislative Republicans are calling for an explanation after the sudden resignation of Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt says Lourey’s departure Monday is a sign of turmoil at the state’s largest agency. He says it’s “deeply troubling” when coupled with the unexplained departures last week of two deputy commissioners.

Lourey said in his resignation letter that it was time for a new leader at the agency, but didn’t otherwise say why he was leaving. Neither did the governor’s office.

Walz has named Pam Wheelock, a former finance commissioner under Gov. Jesse Ventura two decades ago, as temporary head of Human Services.

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9:46 a.m.

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.

Lourey says in a resignation letter that a new leader is necessary to carry out the agency’s work.

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.

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

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