ST. PAUL, Minn. (KARE/KTTC) -- Gov. Mark Dayton is standing by his decision to appoint his chief of staff to the board of Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center in Rochester.
State Rep. Peggy Scott, a Republcian of Andover, sent Dayton a letter requesting that he remove Tina Smith from the board based on the notion that her loyalties will be divided. Scott contends a time will come when Smith won't be able to be loyal to both the governor and the DMC Corporation board of directors at the same time.
The letter was sent despite the fact that the legislative auditor, James Nobles, reviewed the situation and told Scott that Smith doesn't have any conflict of interest serving in both roles.
Dayton appointed Smith to the board in July, in part, at the request of the Mayo Clinic, after Smith was involved in hammering out the details of that groundbreaking legislation.
"The people at the Mayo said their number-one draft pick was Tina Smith to be on the board because she had worked so successfully with the legislature, with the local officials in Rochester, Olmsted County and Mayo executives," Dayton told reporters.
The legislative auditor pointed out that every member of the DMC board belongs to another organization that has some kind of interest in how that turns out, and that Gov. Dayton wanted someone that would represent his interest.
The Destination Medical Center Corporation will decide how to spend $585 million in taxpayer money for public infrastructure that will help pave the way for a $6 billion expansion of the Mayo Clinic.
Dayton called Scott's complaint part of a pattern of Republican lawmakers taking issues to the press before talking to him directly.
"This has become a pattern of republican legislators who are either bored or craving attention, so they send a letter to the press either at the same time or even before I do," Dayton remarked.
GOP House leader Kurt Daudt said taxpayers have a legitimate right to ask these types of questions and called the governor's remark "dismissive and patronizing," noting that Dayton has yet to supply a written response to Rep. Scott's letter.
The bottom line is that the Governor plans to leave Tina Smith's on the Destination Medical Center board.
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