While April Todd-Malmlov took a 2 week Costa Rican vacation, MnSure, the organization she’s theoretically running, was experiencing several crises. That point isn’t disputable, though Democrats, including Gov. Dayton have tried defending Todd-Malmlov’s actions. Yesterday, MNsure’s media relations coordinator, Jenni Bowring-McDonough made this statement:
“Our leadership here works very, very closely with April, and the rest of the MNsure staff are deeply trusted and have the full faith and trust of our executive director and were at the helm in partnership with April even when she was out of the office.
“It certainly was not a case of any gap in forward motion or any gap in work that needed to be completed and attended to because our commitment every day is to making the improvements that we need to make so that people can have the coverage they need starting Jan. 1.”
That last paragraph can’t go unchallenged. I quoted Ben Golnik, the founder of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, in this post about all of the difficulties MnSure was dealing with:
In recent weeks, among the new problems with MNsure: serious security issues with the MNsure website, 60 minute average wait times with MNsure call centers, and possible incorrect information provided to 30,000 consumers over tax credit eligibility.
This morning, I spoke with the Lady Logician about the 60-minute average wait time issue because she’s worked at call centers for as long as I’ve known her. She brought up the important point that, in addition to that being too long of a wait time, management has to be on the ball to increase staffing.
She said that it isn’t just about conducting the interviews. It’s also about doing the background checks so people with criminal histories don’t get hired to take families’ most personal information.
With that long of a laundry list of fires to put out, it’s all-hands-on-deck time. In the private sector, it’s the type of time when the entire leadership team is working 12 hour days to get everything fixed. By comparison, in government, it’s apparently the type of time when 2 week Costa Rican vacations are in order.
Gov. Dayton sent out conflicting messages in defending Ms. Malmlov:
On Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton defended Todd-Malmlov’s right to take a pre-scheduled vacation. He made no attempt to defend MNsure’s ongoing problems.
“I know that the executive director worked extraordinarily hard for months now, probably all of last year and my understanding was this was a long-planned vacation where financial commitments were made,” Dayton said. “I don’t know enough of the details, but it was obviously a critical time for MNsure and it is ultimately her responsibility.”
What scrambled mind would defend a person taking a vacation while their organization is dealing with multiple crises, then dump on her and say that “it is ultimately her responsibility”? Gov. Dayton’s spineless ‘leadership’ is discouraging. What’s worse is that, ultimately, it’s his responsibility because a) he’s Ms. Malmlov’s boss and b) he signed the HIX (health insurance exchange) into law.
Ms. Malmlov’s first responsibility is to get MnSure fixed. That means hiring additional staff for the call centers, making sure that all the background checks are completed, then making sure that the security issues are resolved. I haven’t seen proof that Ms. Malmlov accomplished any of those things.