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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nick Zerwas (R)

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RELEASE: Statement from Reps. Franson and Zerwas on changes at DHS OIG

Monday, July 29, 2019

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) announced Monday that Governor Walz has named an interim manager for the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) while Carolyn Ham is on paid leave, pending an investigation into her leadership of the office. Ham was placed on leave March 18th after a report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor detailing a toxic working relationship between Ham and investigators working to find fraud in the Department of Human Services’ public programs. According to the DHS announcement, Interim Manager Bob Jacobson has extensive experience in the public sector and law enforcement.

“I applaud Governor Walz for taking this step in bringing desperately needed credibility and law enforcement experience to the Office of the Inspector General,” said Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria. “I hope this is the start of a new chapter where the OIG has the leadership it needs to aggressively uncover, investigate, and prosecute fraud across all of our public programs. In order to prevent fraud, the legislature and the OIG need to have a strong working relationship; I look forward to meeting the interim manager and hearing how the legislature can best support the OIG in that effort."

DHS also announced that Carolyn Ham has been reassigned to the DHS Office of General Counsel, where she has returned to work effective Monday.

"Mr. Jacobson brings authority and expertise to the OIG, and I am grateful that he has agreed to serve as Interim Manager," added Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River. "While it's encouraging that Ms. Ham is no longer sitting at home getting a paycheck, I have concerns about her returning to work in another office while under investigation. I hope the Walz administration will complete the investigation quickly—we need accountability and answers about Ms. Ham's tenure at the OIG, and her role in allowing pervasive fraud in the childcare system."

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