Shake-up occurs in DNR brass

Editor

St. Paul A shake-up in the DNR Commissioner’s office will
redistribute responsibilities among the agency’s top management
staff.

Under the new structure, Kim Bonde, former special assistant to
Commissioner Allen Garber, will take over as assistant commissioner
of administration. The previous assistant commissioner for
administration, Kurt Ulrich, now moves to head the Bureau of
Information, Education, and Licensing. His position will report to
Bonde.

The promotion will increase Bonde’s salary from $81,432 to
$89,575 per year. Under his new post, Ulrich will earn $82,601
compared to $94,753 under his previous post.

Bonde came to the DNR from the Champlin Police Department where
she had worked for Garber when he was police chief there. As
special assistant, she accompanied Garber to most meetings and has
been one of his closest advisors. In addition to her police work in
Champlin, she also worked as a licensed Hennepin Parks ranger. She
has an associates degree in law enforcement from Alexandria
Technical College.

Ulrich also came to DNR in 1999 with Garber from Champlin, where
he had been the city manager since 1989. He takes over the Bureau
of Information, Education, and Licensing post from Tom Baumann, who
recently transferred to DNR Forestry.

DNR Communications Director Dennis Stauffer said there are no
plans to fill the special assistant to the commissioner position
and that many of Bonde’s duties will remain “much as they
have.”

Prior to the change, Bonde directed the Office of Professional
Standards and the Human Resources department. Under the new
structure, she will retain those duties as well as oversee the
bureaus of management information services; information and
education, and licensing; and facilities and operations
support.

An assistant commissioner post is unclassified and serves at the
pleasure of the DNR commissioner, according to Mary O’Neill, with
DNR Human Resources. Ulrich’s new position is classified, and
therefore is considered a long-term permanent job, not subject to
the whims of the electorate.

Ulrich told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his new post offered
more job security. Stauffer said Commissioner Garber did not
consider the move a demotion for Ulrich.

“This is not a big deal from a policy standpoint and not a
precursor to any big changes,” Stauffer said. “The Commissioner
made these changes because they best utilize people’s skills in the
best interest of the organization.”

The top DNR management structure now breaks down as follows:
Commissioner Garber, Deputy DNR Commissioner Steve Morse, who is
the agency’s primary legislative liaison and oversees DNR
budgeting; and the two assistant commissioners: Bonde, and
Assistant Commissioner for Operations Brad Moore. DNR division and
regional directors report to Moore.

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