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Jodi Harpstead named as Minnesota’s Dept. of Human Services Commissioner

ST. PAUL, MN — The successor of former Minnesota Dept. of Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey has been named.

Monday morning, Governor Tim Walz named Jodi Harpstead to head the state’s largest agency.

Harpstead, who is the President and CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, is the first DHS Commissioner to have a Master of Business Administration since the department’s restructuring from the Minnesota Department of Public Welfare in 1984.

Walz’ office says Harpstead’s appointment will be effective September 3.

Some lawmakers have called the post the toughest job in state government.

The agency has been hit by turmoil amid Lourey’s abrupt resignation last month.

Lourey resigned last month just days after two deputy commissioners quite with no public explanation, and his chief of staff also resigned.

The two deputies rescinded their resignations after Walz installed former state finance commissioner Pam Wheelock as acting commissioner.

Two Minnesota Senate committees will hold a joint hearing Tuesday on the upheaval at the agency, as well as more than $25 million in overpayments to two Indian tribes for substance abuse treatment programs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Associated Press

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