ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — The head of Minnesota’s labor relations agency and a member of Gov. Mark Dayton’s cabinet has died.
Dayton’s office said Bureau of Mediation Services Commissioner Josh Tilsen passed away early Tuesday morning from complications of a staph infection. Chief of Staff Jaime Tincher said Tilsen’s condition quickly worsened after he became ill last week. He was 67.
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Tilsen has been part of Dayton’s cabinet since the beginning. The governor appointed him to lead the Bureau of Mediation Services in 2011. He’s been most visible during controversial union elections like the effort to unionize home health care workers in 2014.
Deputy Commissioner Todd Doncavage will fill Tilsen’s role.
Gov. Mark Dayton release a statement Tuesday about Tilsen’s death:
Our entire Administration is deeply mourning today. Commissioner Tilsen was our good friend, an important leader of our team, and a superb public servant. We will greatly miss his talent, expertise, and good humor. We offer our support to Josh’s wife, Faith, and the Tilsen family, as they mourn this tragic loss.
Josh Tilsen devoted his career to improving the lives of Minnesotans. During his 29 years of service at the Bureau of Mediation Services, he demonstrated an extraordinary ability to bring people together to mediate complex contracts and resolve contentious disputes.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith released this statement:
Minnesota today lost one of its great public servants. Over the last six years, I have come to know Josh Tilsen as one of the most dedicated and talented professionals in state government. He was our colleague and our great friend. Josh’s wife Faith and the Tilsen family are in our thoughts and prayers today as they grieve this terrible loss.
Commissioner Tilsen dedicated his professional life to helping Minnesotans with opposing views find common ground. Josh had an extraordinary capacity to listen and then doggedly seek out solutions to complex challenges where no one else could see a path. He was a friend and mentor to me, and exemplified the title public servant.
And St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman released this statement about Tilsen’s passing:
Commissioner Josh Tilsen dedicated his life to bringing Minnesotans together, and he will be greatly missed.
His legacy lives on at the Bureau of Mediation Services, where he left his mark as a listener, a leader and a problem solver. He was an incredible public servant, and an incredible human being.
My heart goes out to Commissioner Tilsen’s wife Faith, his children, his father-in-law George Latimer, as well as his friends and co-workers as they grieve this terrible loss.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)