GOP Lawmakers Fire Minn. Environmental Panel Head

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Minnesota ordered the firing of a state environmental panel’s director, but her attorney believes they lack the authority to remove her from the post.

Jodi Boyne, spokeswoman for House Speaker Kurt Zellers, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Susan Thornton was notified recently that Jan. 2 will be her last day as director of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

The commission oversees money from a trust fund that’s fed by state lottery proceeds, recommending environmental and natural resources projects to the Legislature each year. The most recent round of projects totaled almost $51 million for two years.

Boyne said she could not reveal reasons for Thornton’s termination because it’s a personnel matter.

Thornton’s attorney, Vince Louwagie, said his client was told the decision wasn’t based on her performance but that “somebody had decided to go in a different direction.” The lawyer told the AP that the director of the Legislative Coordinating Commission gave Thornton the notice.

Louwagie said he doesn’t believe lawmakers have the unilateral authority to fire Thornton since she leads a citizen panel. He said he has advised her to continue showing up for work after Jan. 2. Thornton has led the commission since 2008.

Some commission members and Democratic state lawmakers told the St. Paul Pioneer Press they were upset by what happened.

“I was blindsided by this,” said Nancy Gibson, citizen co-chair of the commission. “As co-chair, you would think I at least would be privy to some of it.”

The commission used to be made up entirely of legislators, but was revamped in 2006 to include citizen members. It now consists of five state senators, five state representatives and seven citizens — five appointed by the governor, one by the Senate and one by the House.

The Legislature had typically gone along with recommendations from the commission, but in the last legislative session the Republican chairmen of House and Senate environmental panels led an effort to replace several recommendations.

“The LCCMR has always been nonpartisan,” Rep. Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis, told the Pioneer Press. “The decisions have always been bipartisan. And now the (House) speaker is making it into a partisan position.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • jimmy

    “somebody had decided to go in a different direction.”

    Wow these Republicans are really greedy. See money grab it.

  • Kuddos Susan

    rumor has it she wouldn’t “put out” for a certain member of the GOP party. Once again they keeping it close to the vest and their zippers up on it.
    Could be a male or female didn’t get their “gift” the way the party is today. lol
    Way to go Susan and stick to your beliefs – at least someone has moral values in this state!
    Now the question is which one…and will it be another married one within the party of “family values” LMFAO
    Sleazy party right now, mighty sleazy

    • Grynch

      Rumor has it that you would probably jump to conclusions before anything remotely intellectual were to incept in your brain.

  • Dale Gribble

    Cheers for the GOP for doing the right thing for Freedom-loving Americans. Anyone who is involved with “environmental and natural resources projects” is almost certainly infected with atheist, secular-humanist liberal propaganda and cannot be trusted.

    • lee

      Thy have never did the right thing…so eat this…

    • pity Dale Dribble Gribble

      Dale – it is time for you to actually do some work and quit playing on your toy. Do you not know we pay you to work from 8-4pm everyday? Money does not grow on trees you petty little louse. ;-)
      You are soon to be unemployed junior.

    • Love the outdoors

      I sincerely hope this is sarcasm at work because if you think the environment and natural resources will be around forever without people doing whatever they can to protect what we have left, you are a very sick person.

      • Dale Gribble

        The Bible says that only God can end the world, not man. The Bible says that God gave man dominion over the animals and the plants to use as he saw fit. So called “green” policies are an attempt by atheist, liberal scientists to destroy God’s law. Environmentalists are secular humanists who hate God and hate America.

        • Mike

          The Bible was written by men Dale. Nice try though.

          • Dale Griblble

            The Bible is the literal Word Of God revealed through the Holy Spirit. Your blasphemy will earn you an eternity of torment unless you repent immediately.

            • splatter

              I prefer urinating on Dale’s little head thank you

            • Osama

              I prefer the Koran myself.

  • Betty

    I wonder where the money went that was supposed to be used for envoronmental projects. Just wait for the rest of the story!

    • Grynch

      An employee got laid off. This story has nothing to do with asset allocation and nowhere in the article does it state that there is any money missing from anywhere.

  • EDIT

    personnel matter or PERSONAL matter? Is that an auto-correct mistake?

    • NAS

      You do realize that personnel matter makes sense as well right?

      • Jim

        If it was “personal” I understand why they won’t talk about it. But why would they not talk about a “personnel” matter in a public post? Doesn’t make sense to me.

        • NAS

          But can’t “personnel matter” mean that it is to be discussed by personnel only?

  • Gribble Alert

    Dale likes young boys … just a heads up to all in case you have one at home

    • Dale Gribble Drool

      And what is wrong with liking young boys? It is only the corrupt conservative mind that cannot see the beauty in one man loving one adolescent boy. I am going to go all Sandusky on your nephew.

  • Kevin

    Too many castarted liberal trash on here. We need to cleanse the sackless gene pool….cant wait…..Since they still dont know what to do with the money that they got voted in…..”Clean Water Act”…..they should all be placed against the wall……only in this tree hugging liberal glitter throwing state would the voters vote “yes” for the “Clean Water Act” while having no clue what it was for….my God years into it….the Govt doesnt even know what to do with it…Morons on and all….

    • LMAO at little kevin

      Kevin had a friend post something about kevin’s size. Kevin has numerous posts about lack of apendages Kevin never answered how his got so small,, did he hit it wiith a bad or blow it off wiith or without a gun?

    • kevinsux


  • ALL

    republicans are rotten filth.

  • G Dog

    My buddy Kevin drinks polluted water and LOVES it!! Belly up to the sewage plant Minnesotans, the Repubs want to take us back to the days when the Cuyahoga River started on fire!!!

  • Murph

    Before long a whole lot of people are going to go in a different direction than the GOP! Take it to the bank,it’s the only thing you’ll have left by the time they are done!

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