Minnesota Legislative Auditor: Walz 'departed from Standard Operating Procedure' in appointment of Director of Office of Cannabis Management

(St. Paul, Minn.) — The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor  (OLA) has concluded that the Office of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz ‘departed from its Standard Operating Procedure for Executive Director Appointments’ when appointing the state’s first Director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

A report released Thursday shows the office had three issues different from the normal Standing Operating Procedure, all related to background checks, which the OLA has concluded contributed to Walz’s appointment of Erin Dupree as the Director of OCM “without having full and complete information.”

“The Office of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor has detailed procedures for its appointment process. However, the appointment and subsequent withdrawal of Ms. Dupree as the OCM Director highlighted some opportunities for improvement in the hiring process,” the report stated.

Recommendations from the OLA included the Governor’s office independently confirm that any background check of potential appointees for sensitive positions include a review of the individual and business tax information from Minnesota’s Department of Revenue; the criminal history from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Department of Corrections, along with the FBI, when warranted for the position; and outstanding court judgments.

Additionally, the OLA recommended the Governor wait to make an appointment to a sensitive position until the office “has reviewed the complete background check report and made an independent determination of the suitability of the candidate for the position.”