Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday that his administration has started a formal process to look into breaking up Minnesota’s Department of Human Services, but Republicans criticized the Democratic governor’s plan for involving an excessive number of outside consultants.
“As Governor, it is my responsibility to ensure that Minnesotans receive the services they need in an efficient, accountable manner,” Walz said in a statement. “As my Administration surfaces issues at the Department of Human Services that have been going on for years, we must dig deeper to find the root of these problems. That is why we need an outside expert to take an independent look at DHS and recommend whether breaking up the agency would improve efficiency, increase accountability, and better serve Minnesotans.”
His office has hired Public Sector Consultants to conduct research and “determine the needs and focus areas of a third-party review of the agency.” The consulting firm will then create a “scope of work for prospective consultants seeking to conduct the review.”
Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) (pictured above) said Walz is essentially “using tax dollars to hire multiple consulting firms to do his job for him.”
“He is staffing out the responsibilities of his office rather than making the tough decisions himself. Tim Walz ran for governor to make changes, right? Why is he standing on the sidelines and letting someone else take charge?” he said in a press release.
The Republican lawmaker also revealed that the legislative director of DHS has confirmed that former DHS Inspector General Carolyn Ham, who was on investigative leave for most of the year, has “retained her six-figure salary” in a new position at the agency.
“DHS is a mess,” Drazkowski said. “A failed, and incompetent employee has been allowed to stay at the agency and make exorbitant pay despite mismanagement. For years, DHS has been too bloated and too mismanaged to function properly.”
Drazkowski, the leader of the New House Republican Caucus, said there are “no checks and balances at DHS.”
“I have been calling for strict oversight for years,” he continued. “In 2015 and 2017, I carried major reform bills that passed the House and would have used savings accrued from hiring a private sector data analytics firm to help eliminate the hundreds of millions of dollars of documented Medicaid fraud, just as has been done in other states. However, Democrats fought us tooth and nail and rejected it in final budget negotiations. As we have seen, they simply want to throw more money at failing institutions.”
– – –