Tuesday, February 19, 2008
AG Swanson issues a response to staff members' letter
In an e-mail sent to her entire staff this morning, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson offered a response to a letter sent by three of her assistant AGs late last week calling upon her to recognize a union in the office. (As Minnesota Lawyer reported yesterday, the letter represents the first time current staff members in the AG’s Office have stepped forward and openly advocated for a union.)
Swanson said she was sick with the flu last week when the letter was posted on the Internet, and that she was “disappointed” the employees distributed the letter to the public and the media before she could respond.
“This suggests a communication that is more about a political swipe and less about a good faith attempt to communicate,” Swanson wrote. “It does not further the mission of this office to have political debate with staff members who are supposed to represent this office as professionals.”
(In their letter, the three had disclaimed having any political motivation. “[This effort] is not supported by any outside political interests, nor is it the product of any political vendetta,” they wrote. The three assistant AGs who wrote the letter were all hired during the administrations of AGs from the DFL Party – one under Swanson, one under Mike Hatch and one under Skip Humphrey.)
Swanson said in the e-mail that she “strongly disagrees” with the accusations in the letter, which include assertions that a campaign has been waged in her office to stifle the unionization attempt.
She said she will have two of her deputies meet with the three assistant AGs who wrote the letter to “to flesh out the purpose of the letter and whether the three signatories actually represent the rest of the staff.” She also said she has her own "sense of the staff" and plans to gauge the staff further.
Swanson also noted in the e-mail that Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, yesterday distributed copies of the three staff members’ letter on the floor of the House and called for an investigation of her office.
A copy of the full text of Swanson’s e-mail appears as a comment to another post on this site. We have verified through independent channels that staff members received the posted e-mail.