Governor’s decision could mean DNR brass changes

Editor

St. Paul  Gov. Jesse Ventura’s announcement on Tuesday that he
will not seek a second term likely will mean management changes at
the top of the Minnesota DNR.

A new governor may choose to retain commissioners, though quite
often as Ventura acted in 1999 after his swearing in governors
choose to bring in their own people. If the 2002 gubernatorial
candidates stick to their word, the same scenario will occur in the
next eight months when a new governor takes office.

At events and debates earlier this spring focusing on natural
resource issues, the two leading candidates for governor, Roger
Moe, DFL-Erskine, and Tim Pawlenty, R-Eagan, both said they would
appoint new leadership at the DNR. Both men have their party
endorsements.

The DNR commissioner post, currently held by Allen Garber, is an
appointed position that serves at the pleasure of the governor. In
addition, several other positions in DNR management are, by
statute, considered “unclassified appointed” positions that serve
at the pleasure of the commissioner. These include the deputy
commissioner post, now held by Steve Morse; the two assistant
commissioners, Kim Bonde and Brad Moore, and the nine division
directors, including the heads of DNR Fisheries, Ron Payer, and
Wildlife, Tim Bremicker.

Jim Klatt, president of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance,
said he expects Garber will lose his job when a new governor takes
office.

“These commissioners serve at the whim of the governor, and
unless you have a commissioner like Joe Alexander who was so good
that he transcended political boundaries, we often see turnover in
these posts.

“It’s important that we have someone who’s a real people person,
and not so defensive about things in this job,” Klatt said.

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