Iron Range hiring complaints prompt Walz to change policy

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Gov. Tim Walz’s administration has announced that it will change state hiring policy after a former state DFL lawmaker was appointed to a six-figure position in the Department of Resources and rehabilitation of the iron chain without going through standard hiring procedures.

Joe Radinovich, who unsuccessfully ran for the 8th Congressional District seat last year, was hired in March by the economic development agency based in Eveleth, Minnesota, as a senior executive for a salary of $ 100,000.

The story was first reported on Wednesday by The Timberjay newspaper.

Documents show that the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation requested and received special permission from the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget to advertise the position for only 24 hours, rather than the required minimum of 7 days.

In addition, an organization chart produced five days before the post was posted showed that Radinovich was already installed in the post. Radinovich had previously worked as deputy commissioner of the department before resigning to run for Congress.

“I am deeply troubled by the hiring process at [Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation] which lacked transparency and fairness, ”Representative Sandy Layman, R-Cohasset said Thursday. Layman sits on the agency’s board of directors and is a former Iron Range Resource and Rehabilitation Commissioner.

“This kind of political maneuvering undermines public confidence in the agency and reinforces the worst impressions people have – honestly or not – of the [department]. “

Over the years, the agency has come under heavy criticism for providing millions of dollars in loans and grants to companies that failed to deliver the jobs promised, and for failing to adequately monitor the funding it did. it provides.

In response to The Timberjay’s story, the Walz administration announced that it would institute an administration-wide policy requiring, rather than recommending, that all similar leadership positions be posted for at least 21 days.

“The governor’s office has not been involved in any decision-making related to the expedited hiring process, and has not asked the Department of Iron Resources and Rehabilitation or Minnesota’s Management and Budget to s ‘move away from ordinary hiring procedures, “Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann said. a press release Thursday.

Tschann added that Walz “is committed to hiring the best qualified candidates and building a administration that reflects the diversity of Minnesota.”

The department is responsible for diversifying the economy of the iron chain beyond mining. It issues tens of millions of dollars each year in grants and loans intended to stimulate economic development in northeastern Minnesota.

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