Lawmaker Wants Hearings on DHS Chaos

Lawmaker Wants Hearings on DHS Chaos Click to Enlarge Photo: Minnesota Senate

(KNSI) - After recent resignations and more revelations of problems at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, state lawmakers plan to hold hearings next month.

Minnesota Senator Jim Abler is the Chair of the Human Services Reform Committee and was a guest of KNSI's Ox in the Afternoon.

He plans to hold joint hearings looking into the department in the middle of August.

"We'll get to the bottom of it, it's our duty to at least oversee what's happening. Maybe they don't want us to do anything or help but at least we can tell them what we think and give them a chance to explain themselves."

Earlier this week, DHS contract specialist Faye Bernstein reported she faced retaliation after she shed light on the question of the legality of contracts at the social services agency.

This follows last week's resignation of DHS Commissioner Tony Lourey and his top deputy.

The week before that, two other deputy commissioners resigned but then rescinded their resignations after Lourey stepped down.

Some lawmakers think it has something to do with reports of fraud at the DHS.

Abler says the resignations come about three months after the state's lead investigator into fraud at the 19-billion dollar agency was put on leave without an investigation.

"So, who's minding the store? It there's a five percent fraud and misuse of money that's two billion dollars a biennium and everybody thinks there's more than that."

Abler says they are finalizing the hearing dates right now and he expects more whistleblowers to come forward.

Governor Tim Walz told KNSI News last week that there's no drama, no scandal and there isn't anything remiss at the department.

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