Minn: I make no excuses, I accept responsibility for inadequate consultation, and I simply offer as an explanation that the circumstances had changed and the governor exercised what he believed was his prerogative. It was not the governor's prerogative nor was it my intention that we were to be insulting to or in any way lacking respect for the Senate.Minn argued that regardless of how the merger was handled, it is reducing the size of state government as the public has demanded. He says the new agency, with 380 employees, is saving money, and the industries it regulates support the change.
Novak: I think it's very clear that Mr. Minn broke his word to a number of Senators; a variety of ethical procedures were violated, specifically during the course of the hearing; attempts to influence corporate executives who have major multi-million dollar, even multi-billion dollar issues to be decided before his department.Novak and other Minn detractors have cited his arrogance and poor relationship with some legislators, and even one of the four Senators who voted for his confirmation, DFLer Allen Spear of Minneapolis, admitted Minn can be strident and step on people's toes. But Spear says he's reluctant to reject a gubernatorial appointee who's obviously qualified.
Spear: I cannot vote against somebody who I think is able to do the job, has the high energy level, has already shown in what he's done since he's served as commissioner, that he can get things done. And so I think on balance, I'm going to give the competency factors precedence over some of the personal inter-relationship problems that Mr. Minn has.Spear was in the minority; 11 committee members voted to reject Minn's confirmation. Republican Senator Bill Belanger of Bloomington says Minn has no credibility with him, because Minn lied to him. Belanger says he met with Minn prior to the merger, and told Minn he would oppose both the merger and his confirmation. Minn made a comment as he walked out the door, which the two recalled quite differently.
Minn: My response to you when you articulated to me that you were upset with my performance and I attempted to elicit specifics, I said the executive branch has its prerogatives to make the appointments and its mergers, and the Legislature has its prerogative to do what you're going to do. And I guess that's how we were going to leave it.But the administration may be running out of weapons. The confirmation now goes to the full Senate, where observers think it's in trouble. The governor wouldn't comment on the latest Minn defeat, but his spokesman, John Wodele, says Ventura is not backing down from his appointee, and will continue to pursue his confirmation. Wodele says the governor believes the Senate committee votes are political, and not based on Minn's qualifications.
Belanger: Mr. Minn, that's not what you said as you walked out the door. You said the administration is not without weapons.