Walz meets with members to discuss temporary unclassifieds, DHS and other issues

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During a meeting with MAPE members on Monday, Gov. Tim Walz said he agreed that use of temporary unclassified positions should be “limited and narrow,” and promised his administration would address the issue. Gov. Walz committed to meeting again with members on this issue and plans are underway for the next event. 

MAPE has reviewed more than 100 of the more than 700 temporary unclassified positions in state government and believes the state has been overusing the classification.

Gov Walz, Lt Gov Flanagan, MMB Commissioner Myron Frans meet with MAPE members

Photo at right: Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and MMB Commissioner Myron Frans meet with MAPE members at the Capitol.

The statutory language authorizes use when a position is fully anticipated to be limited to fewer than three years and is appropriate when the unique work of a position is only needed for a short time. “Instead, some agencies are using these positions for any project work, in the case of any funding instability and sometimes even simply to get around labor contract provisions,” MNIT project manager Kassie Church said.    

Local 1102’s Church said the overuse leads to negative consequences and instability, “In my former division at MNIT, less than half of all employees were classified. This caused high turnover, low morale and staff letting managers get away with union contract violations for fear of retribution. This not only affected the work climate, but the work. Projects were delayed and knowledge was lost as resources moved on and off projects.”

Local 1301’s Nancy Torres, a clinical program therapist at Anoka Regional Treatment Center, spoke with the governor and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan about issues at the Dept. of Human Services (DHS). A few months ago, MAPE surveyed members at DHS and Torres told the administration that members want to be partners in finding solutions to the complex problems at DHS.

“We know what is going well and what needs to change – regardless of how the agency is structured. Our members reiterated that to only focus on the size and structure of the agency is to miss so much more about how to improve the quality of service for Minnesotans. The values of servant leadership are strong with our membership and we are enthusiastic about partnering with you on this,” Torres said.

Statewide Secretary Lynn Butcher, program administrator at St. Peter Security Hospital, also emphasized the importance of a productive partnership with the Walz administration and asked that the administration include MAPE in ongoing DHS discussions. The governor promised to include a at least one seat for labor on the DHS Commissioner’s Advisory Council.  

Lt. Gov. Flanagan told members said she and Gov. Walz have an open-door policy about meeting with state employees because “The best part of this job is talking with people who do the work.”