The last part of Friday night’s Almanac Roundtable focused on DFL mismanagement of multiple agencies and departments. Moderator Eric Eskola opened that portion of the segment by saying “Gregg, you were around the legislature for a long time and with candidates and so forth. I really sense that this is a bad year for big government in Minnesota, Human Services and so many problems and I wonder if it was this bad when you were working for Speaker Sviggum?” Later in the segment, Eskola interjected, saying of Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles’ testimony at this week’s hearing that “If this was a prize fight, they would’ve stopped it. He just mopped the floor with her.”

Eric Eskola has been a significant part of the Minnesota media for a generation+. That’s the most provocative thing I’ve ever heard him say. That isn’t saying that he’s wrong. In fact, I think he’s exactly right. The times I’ve watched Auditor Nobles testify about DHS’s mismanagement, Mr. Nobles didn’t pull his punches. He’s landed some hard-hitting body blows to DHS management.

The laughable part of the segment was Abou Amara saying that divided government was to blame for the mismanagement. It’s laughable because the executive branch can function perfectly whether there’s unified government or divided government. Period. Stop.

Amara is right in the sense that it’s easier to pass legislation when it’s unified DFL government. That doesn’t guarantee problems getting fixed, though. The bigger point that Amara intentionally side-stepped is that reform-minded people in the executive branch could start changing the culture without passing a single law. That doesn’t mean we don’t need reforms to fix DHS’s problems. It simply means we can start fixing the problem by hiring high quality management personnel.

Gov. Walz got criticized for the mismanagement:

Gov. Tim Walz’s administration came under fire Wednesday for violations of state contract laws. Republican senators held a hearing about the violations, which occurred when vendors working with the state started work before contracts were signed and when employees committed to spending state money without agency permission. Records from the administration show these violations happened roughly 1,300 times over the last year.

Minnesota’s bureaucracy needs a major overhaul. There’s no time to waste.

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