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Minnesota Senate Confirmations: Problematic Governor Appointments

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

The Legislative Reference Library has been able to verify that the following appointees were rejected, resigned, or fired before Senate confirmation. Keep in mind that some executive appointees serve out their terms without a full Senate confirmation vote. They do not appear on this list.

There are three separate lists:

These lists are not complete. Please contact the Legislative Reference Library if you have additions.


Minnesota Governor Appointees Rejected by the Full Senate:

Please note: This is not a complete list. Also, many appointees serve without ever being confirmed.

YEAR APPOINTEE NAME AGENCY
1935 Marian Le Sueur State Board of Education
1935 Florence Rood State Board of Education
1971 Many appointees rejected (a)
1976 William Watters (b) State Personnel Board
1978 Patrick Flanders Ethical Practices Board
1980 James R. Otto Workers' Compensation Board of Appeals
1984 Jeff Bertram (c) State Ethical Practices Board
1994 Robert Mairs Metropolitan Transit Commission
1997 Chris Georgacas Board on Judicial Standards
2000 Steve Minn Department of Commerce
2000 Steve Minn Department of Public Service
2004 Cheri Pierson Yecke Department of Education
2008 Carol Molnau (d) Department of Transportation
2012 Ellen Anderson Public Utilities Commission
2013 George Perez (e) Minnesota Tax Court
2018 Amy Hewett-Olatunde (*) Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board

(a) Governor Harold LeVander made 102 appointments after the adjournment of the 1969 Legislative session (May 1969) and before Governor Wendell Anderson assumed office in January 1971. Since the legislature did not meet in session during that period, none of the 102 people appointed during that time by Governor LeVander were confirmed before he left office. Governor Anderson made his own appointments soon after taking office. (A 1969 government reorganization act (Laws of MN 1969, Ch. 1128) made the terms of most department heads the same as that of the governor. In those cases, Governor LeVander's commissioners resigned and Governor Anderson's picks were unopposed and later confirmed.) In a few cases, both governors selected the same person for a position. In many cases, however, the governors appointed different people to the same position. In a procedural move, a Senate committee decided to look at both slates of appointees. Many of Governor Anderson's appointees were rejected by the committee. In each case of controversy, a minority report in support of Governor Anderson's appointees was submitted to a vote of the full Senate and voted down. In each case, the Senate voted to confirm the appointee of former Governor LeVander.

(b) William Watters was initially confirmed, then a motion to reconsider his confirmation was granted. He was subsequently rejected.

(c) Jeff Bertram was initially rejected by the full Senate, then a motion to reconsider was granted. The appointment was then laid on the table. Bertram resigned from the Board before a second vote was taken.

(d) Carol Molnau was rejected by committee in 2004 but was confirmed by the full Senate on May 15, 2004 for Governor Pawlenty's first term in office. On February 28, 2008, during Governor Pawlenty's second term in office, the full Senate rejected her confirmation. No committee action was taken related to her confirmation for Governor Pawlenty's second term.

(e) The Minnesota Tax Court is an executive branch court.

(*) Amy Hewett-Olatunde was confirmed on May 20, 2018 but the confirmation was reconsidered and revoked later the same day.

Minnesota Governor Appointees Rejected by Senate Committee**:

Please note: This is not a complete list. Also, many appointees serve without ever being confirmed.

YEAR APPOINTEE NAME AGENCY
1935 Marian Le Sueur State Board of Education
1935 Florence Rood State Board of Education
1971 Many appointees rejected (f)
1975 Doug Kelm (g) Metropolitan Transit Commission
1978 Patrick Flanders Ethical Practices Board
1980 James R. Otto (h) Workers' Compensation Board of Appeals
1994 Robert Mairs Metropolitan Transit Commission
1995 Michael Jordan (i) Department of Public Safety
1997 Chris Georgacas Board of Judicial Standards
1999 Nancy Wilson (j) Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board
2000 Steve Minn Department of Commerce
2000 Steve Minn Department of Public Service
2004 Annette Meeks Metropolitan Council
2004 Carol Molnau (k) Department of Transportation
2004 Cheri Pierson Yecke Department of Education
2012 Jennifer Munt (l) Metropolitan Council
2013 George Perez (m) Minnesota Tax Court

** The Minnesota House of Representatives also plays a role in confirmations of members of the Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board (formerly known as the Ethical Practices Board.) For example, the Minnesota House and Senate failed to confirm C. R. (Baldy) Hansen's confirmation to the Ethical Practices Board in 1982 before adjourning sine die, which was the same thing as not being confirmed. Karen Jensen's confirmation to the Ethical Practices Board in 1979 passed the Senate but appears to have died in House committee.

Appointees to the Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board have to be confirmed by both the House and the Senate. If no action is taken within a specified time period their appointment is terminated. (Minnesota Statute 10A.02) For example, in 1999, Shirley Chase and Donald Roggenbauer's terms expired because they weren't confirmed by both the House and the Senate. However, they were reappointed in 2000 and were later confirmed.

In 2016, Emma Greenman and Peggy Leppik were confirmed by House committee and the full House but no Senate floor action occurred before adjournment sine die so their appointment was terminated.

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(f) Governor Harold LeVander made 102 appointments after the adjournment of the 1969 Legislative session (May 1969) and before Governor Wendell Anderson assumed office in January 1971. Since the legislature did not meet in session during that period, none of the 102 people appointed during that time by Governor LeVander were confirmed before he left office. Governor Anderson made his own appointments soon after taking office. (A 1969 government reorganization act (Laws of MN 1969, Ch. 1128) made the terms of most department heads the same as that of the governor. In those cases, Governor LeVander's commissioners resigned and Governor Anderson's picks were unopposed and later confirmed.) In a few cases, both governors selected the same person for a position. In many cases, however, the governors appointed different people to the same position. In a procedural move, a Senate committee decided to look at both slates of appointees. Many of Governor Anderson's appointees were rejected by the committee. In each case of controversy, a minority report in support of Governor Anderson's appointees was submitted to a vote of the full Senate and voted down. In each case, the Senate voted to confirm the appointee of former Governor LeVander.

(g) Doug Kelm was not confirmed by a Senate committee in 1975 but there was no vote by the full Senate. In 1976 the issue of his confirmation was sent back to committee where it was confirmed. The full Senate confirmed him in 1976.

(h) James Otto was not rejected by the committee, rather his confirmation was reported out of committee with no recommendation.

(i) Michael Jordan was rejected by the Senate committee, was confirmed by the full Senate, but was later fired.

(j) Nancy Wilson was first appointed in July 1995 and confirmed in 1996 to fill out an unexpired term that ended in January 1997. Governor Arne Carlson reappointed her in July 1997 for a term that expired in January 2001. Her reappointment was defeated due to inaction by both the House and the Senate. Unlike other confirmations, the Legislature must confirm nominations to the campaign finance board within a specified time period or they are rejected automatically (Minnesota Statute 10A.02). Wilson was renominated in April 1998 for a term that expired in January 2002. On April 6, 1999 the Senate Election Laws Committee took no action to recommend her confirmation. Once again her reappointment was defeated due to inaction by both the House and the Senate.

(k) Carol Molnau was rejected by committee in 2004 but was confirmed by the full Senate on May 15, 2004 for Governor Pawlenty's first term in office. On February 28, 2008, during Governor Pawlenty's second term in office, the full Senate rejected her confirmation. No committee action was taken related to her confirmation for Governor Pawlenty's second term.

(l) Jennifer Munt was not rejected by the committee, rather her confirmation was reported out of committee with no recommendation.

(m) The Minnesota Tax Court is an executive branch court.


Minnesota Governor Appointees Who Resigned or Were Fired Before Confirmation:

Please note: This is not a complete list. Also, note that many appointees serve without ever being confirmed. And some appointees serve without confirmation and resign to take other positions at some point before the end of their term; those appointees are not included in this list.

YEAR APPOINTEE NAME AGENCY
1977 Richard Session State Personnel Board
1981 Harry D. Peterson Department of Labor and Industry
1984 Jeff Bertram (n) State Ethical Practices Board
1991 Frank Gallegos (fired) Department of Human Rights
1991 John McCally Department of Health
1995 Mary Carlson Metropolitan Council
1997 Dolores Fridge (o) State Board of Education
1999 Alan Horner Department of Natural Resources
2003 Jane Volz Department of Labor and Industry
2004 Richard Stanek Department of Public Safety

(n) Jeff Bertram was initially rejected by the full Senate, then a motion to reconsider was granted. The appointment was then laid on the table. Bertram resigned from the Board before a second vote was taken.

(o) Dolores Fridge resigned before confirmation as president of the State Board of Education but she had been confirmed by the full Senate as commissioner of the Human Rights Department earlier the same year.

For Additional Confirmation Information, See:

  • Constitution of the State of Minnesota: Article V, Section 3 ("advice and consent of the senate")
  • Minnesota Statutes: 15.06 (appointment of department heads, particularly subdivision 5 if senate refuses designation); 15.066 (confirmation of appointments); 351.05 (resignations, vacancies, removals); 10A.02, subdivision 1 (Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure)
  • See also other Minnesota Statutes for specific boards, agencies, commissions, etc. that require advice and consent of the Senate
  • Senate Confirmation of Executive Appointments - lists of appointees for recent bienniums
  • Journal of the Minnesota Senate: Miscellaneous Index-Executive Appointments in the print edition
  • Rules of the Minnesota Senate: Senate Rule 8