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Monday, February 18, 2008

Beware of frostbite at the Capitol

Dan Heilman has an update on the unionization efforts at the Minnesota AG's Office on the Minnesota Lawyer website. (See "Three assistant AGs go public with union demand.") Those folks took a real chance publicly voicing their discontent with the management of the office. In many ways it's reminiscent of when Rachel Paulose's three deputies went public with their beefs about her management style just a little less than a year ago. (Of course, they, unlike these three assistant AGs, had civil-service protection to shield them.) It will be interesting to see if the general media plays up this little insurrection the way it did the one with Paulose. My money is on no. But Lori Swanson is a DFLer, not a "Bushie," so I guess somehow that makes it alright. (Sigh. Whatever happened to the good old days when it was the Republicans taking on the unions?)

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of a union in the AG's Office, you have to give the "AG Three" points for moxy for what they did. I would suggest that the cold-weather front hanging over the Twin Cities this week isn't the only reason they might need a parka when they head back into work tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From: Lindberg, Debby
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 9:45 AM
To: 0800-All Staff; 0900-All staff; 1050-All Staff/Library Staff;
1100-All Staff; 1200-All Staff; 1300-All Staff; 1400-All Staff; 1500-All
Staff; 1800-All Staff; 1900-All Staff; AG All Managers; AG Deputies;
Capitol Staff
Subject: A Message from Attorney General Swanson

Attachments: Document.pdf

Dear Colleague:

I was out sick with the flu most of last week, and my mail was piled up. On Friday evening I learned from a friend that three staff attorneys published on the internet a letter addressed to me stating that they represent the staff of this office and want to negotiate a union contract. On Saturday I received a call from a member of the media about the letter. Yesterday, Representative Tom Emmer (R-Delano) distributed their letter on the floor of the House of Representatives, demanding an investigation of the Attorney Generalís Office.

I attach a copy of the letter. It is disappointing that the letter was distributed to the public and the media before I even got a chance to respond to it. This suggests a communication that is more about a political swipe and less about a good faith attempt to communicate. 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.

Needless to say, the letter and the manner in which it was distributed undermine the work of this office and are embarrassing to the institution of the office. I strongly disagree with many of the accusations in the letter. I believe the office does very good work and gets great results for the people of Minnesota. I have always respected and tried to honor the work of the professionals on our team. I have had dozens of meetings and have tried hard to communicate with the staff. I have not engaged in political hiring. I believe that the attorneys hired in this office under my tenure are extraordinarily talented. I have never dealt with two of the letterís three signatories on any case since Iíve been Attorney General, and the third has been on staff less than 90 days.

I have asked two deputies to meet with the three staff members to flesh out the purpose of the letter and whether the three signatories actually represent the rest of the staff. It is neither my intent nor wish to bring embarrassment to this office. I have my own sense of the staff and plan on getting my own additional sense of the staff today.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with you in serving our fellow Minnesotans.


Attorney General