Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff Report
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Commissioner of Minnesota DHS resigns


Former state senator Tony Lourey resigned on Monday as the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

In January, Lourey resigned as state senator for the region to join Gov. Tim Walz’ cabinet.

Just last Thursday, the top two deputy commissioners at DHS, Chuck Johnson and Claire Wilson, resigned over a managerial disagreement. Pam Wheelock took over as acting commissioner. Wheelock is a former commissioner of finance with the Ventura administration.

“I would like to thank Tony Lourey for his dedicated service to the state of Minnesota as the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services,” Governor Walz said in a statement on Monday. “Tony is passionate about improving the health care of Minnesotans, and I am proud of what we accomplished together this legislative session.”

“I am grateful that Pam Wheelock has offered to step in to serve as commissioner while we find a permanent replacement,” Walz continued. “With decades of experience in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, I know the top-notch team at DHS will appreciate Pam’s leadership as much as I do.”

Lourey, in his resignation later to Walz, wrote: "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."

On Monday, new Minnesota State Sen. Jason Rarick, R-Pine City, who took over the Lourey Senate position released the following statement: “No matter who is in charge, my focus is overhauling DHS and getting answers for the countless program failures and privacy breaches that have happened on their watch. I am encouraged by the appointment of Pam Wheelock as acting commissioner, and I look forward to working with her to improve DHS’s operations and regain the public’s trust.”

Lourey's six-month stint in this job compares to serving the last 11 years in the State Senate.


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