REGIONAL— Former Eighth District DFL nominee for Congress Joe Radinovich, on Thursday, announced his resignation from his new position at the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. Radinovich’s hiring to a $100,000 a year position at the agency had come under fire in recent days following the investigative report published by the Timberjay Newspapers, which raised questions about the fairness of the process used in the selection.
The report sparked statewide media coverage and criticism of the agency’s actions.
In his short resignation letter, Radinovich said the circumstances surrounding his hiring had taken the agency's focus off of its core mission. “It’s my intent to refocus the public’s attention on the important mission of the IRRR through my action today.”
“We appreciate his concern for the agency and the region it serves,” stated IRRR Communications Coordinator Sheryl Kochevar. “We accept his decision to step down.”
Rep. Sandy Layman, R-Grand Rapids, who had been critical of the hiring process, lauded Radinovich’s decision to leave. "This is an appropriate step that will help restore the credibility of the IRRRB. I care deeply about improving and maintaining the integrity and reputation of the IRRRB because it does critical work for the residents of the Iron Range.”
Radinovich’s resignation likely won’t be the last word on the subject. “This incident was embarrassing for the IRRR, and I have many questions that still need to be answered about the process and the involvement of the governor's office,” said Layman. She noted that Republican lawmakers in the House will be introducing an amendment to the State Government Finance bill to codify the hiring policy changes that Gov. Tim Walz brought forward as a result of the Timberjay’s investigation. “This simple step can prevent incidents like this in the future, and I hope we will examine other ways to tighten up agency hiring practices in the final weeks of session,” said Layman.
The Timberjay will have more on this story in its May 3 print edition and updates on the web at timberjay.com.