Friday, July 24, 2009

If you can't beat 'em, hire 'em?

(Or, cheap shots are expensive?)

Governor Pawlenty's current chief-of-staff has been hired by the University of Minnesota.

From the Pioneer Press:

The University of Minnesota said today that Matt Kramer, one of the mainstays of Pawlenty's administration, will take a corporate relations position starting Aug. 17.

Kramer, 47, has been with Pawlenty for all but a few months of the governor's time in office. He started out as the appointed head of the state's economic development agency and later served as leader of the now-defunct Department of Employee Relations. Between the two, he briefly took a private sector job. He was named chief of staff in late 2006.

Compared with some other chiefs, Kramer has kept a low profile. He seldom spoke with reporters and hardly ever traveled with his boss. He helped develop the JOBZ rural economic development program, one of Pawlenty's favorite initiatives and a target of criticism from Democrats.

One of the few times Kramer came to the fore was during the 2008 legislative session. He was accused of threatening retribution against a project in the House majority leader's northern Minnesota district because the legislator criticized Pawlenty's frequent travel.

The governor's office acknowledged Kramer told the lawmaker, Tony Sertich, D-Chisolm: "Cheap shots are cheap, but they're not free." But the office said the remark was made at Pawlenty's request and denied it was connected to a later veto of the project.

The university has been under a hiring "pause" that requires a management review when new people are brought aboard to fill vacant positions. Kramer's hiring was authorized by Vice President Karen Himle and approved by President Bob Bruininks to fill a job recently vacated by a retirement, said university spokesman Dan Wolter. [Another former Pawlenty staffer.]

He will make $145,000 a year, compared with a salary of $118,870 under Pawlenty.

A further amusing aspect of this hire is the tweet by Lori Sturdevant of the Star-Tribune:

sturdevant Pawlenty chief of staff Matt Kramer has landed well at the U, but has a big job thawing years of chill between U and some businesses.

I thought OurCEO had already taken care of this. Wasn't he just named CEO of the year for his activities in changing the business/university relationship? Let me see... From "Bob Bruininks: Executive of the Year"

"But Bruininks’ commitment to improving relations between the university and the business community mirrors his passion for connecting his school to its natural surroundings — and it’s helped earn him the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s nod for Executive of the Year 2009. Whether creating departments and offices that ease interaction between the university and business, hiring key people in high-level positions or improving academic standards to ensure graduates are ready to lead the Twin Cities into the future, Bruininks has earned the business community’s respect."

So let's see, Lori Sturdevant seems to think that there are still some problems between the business community and the U and the MSP Business Journal chooses him as Executive of the year because he has earned the business community's respect.

Someone must be mistaken.

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