Why was former inspector general Carolyn Ham reassigned instead of being fired — Republicans asked state Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead during her 90-day progress report to lawmakers today. Ham Lake Senator Michelle Benson wanted to know, “How are we gonna get comfortable that you are really looking for top-tier talent when somebody with that level of controversy is being retained?” Benson added a lot of Minnesotans would be fired if they performed the way some people did at the state Human Services Department. Commissioner Harpstead responded, “It’s hard to justify firing someone for doing the job they were given, if they weren’t given the right tools to do them.” Benson fired back, “When you have six layers of management and nobody’s checking, that’s not because resources weren’t available. It’s because people didn’t know how to do their job.”
Former inspector general Ham’s response to allegations of fraud in the child care assistance program was the subject of a Human Services Department investigation.