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Lutheran Social Services Chief to Lead Troubled Minn. Agency

Jodi Harpstead Jodi Harpstead |  Photo: State of Minnesota

Created: August 12, 2019 10:06 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Tim Walz has named the leader of Lutheran Social Services to take over the state's troubled Department of Human Services.

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Walz said Monday that Jodi Harpstead will replace Commissioner Tony Lourey starting next month. DHS, the largest state agency, has been wracked by turmoil that included Lourey's abrupt resignation last month.

Harpstead has been president and chief executive at Lutheran Social Services for nearly a decade. Her background also includes 23 years at medical device maker Medtronic. Walz highlighted Harpstead's business credentials as well as her nonprofit work in announcing the appointment.

Lourey, a former state senator from Pine County, resigned last month just days after two deputy commissioners quit with no public explanation. 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 The two deputies rescinded their resignations after Walz installed former state finance commissioner Pam Wheelock as acting commissioner.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.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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