Skip to main content

DHS deputy commissioner reverses decision, will resign after all

Claire Wilson will leave the department this Friday.
Claire Wilson DHS

One of the two Minnesota Department of Human Services deputy commissioners who submitted their resignation last month, only to backtrack, has announced she'll be leaving the department after all.

The DHS confirmed to BMTN on Monday that Claire Wilson, its deputy commissioner for policy, will be leaving on Friday, Aug. 30, after the news was originally reported by the Pioneer Press.

In a memo sent to staff, Acting DHS Commissioner Pam Wheelock said she'd asked Wilson to stay on after former Commissioner Tony Lourey left, with his resignation coming just a few days following Wilson initially submitting her resignation.

Wilson agreed to this, "knowing that it would provide stability and continuity during a time of leadership change," per Wheelock, but Wilson has since decided that when Wheelock leaves her acting post, she will step down too.

The news DHS Commissioner, Jodi Harpstead, is due to start her role on Sept. 3.

"Claire ... has demonstrated a deep appreciation both for employees of DHS and for what it means to be part of this amazing organization," Wheelock wrote. "I know that wherever life takes her next, she will continue to pursue the same impactful goals, with the same authentic passion, in an effort to improve the lives of others."

Chuck Johnson, who announced his resignation at the same time as Wilson last month but who also reversed the decision upon Lourey's departure, will stay on in his role under Harpstead.

In a message to staff, Wilson said the last several weeks "have been personally and professionally difficult," but noted it was a "privilege" to work under Wheelock.

"Of the work we have done together, I am especially proud of our efforts to advance equity, including championing the implementation of the agency’s Equity Policy. Dismantling institutional racism remains central to our work to improve the human services system and it must remain a priority," she wrote.

"It is very difficult to leave DHS behind, and especially difficult to leave staff because so many of you have like family to me. But I know this is the right decision for me, and I believe it is important for the agency to have a fresh start with Commissioner Harpstead."

She concluded: "I do not know what my next step professionally is, but I do know that wherever I am in this world I will be cheering you on and loving you for the work you do and the people you are."

Her departure heaps more pressure onto the Walz Administration to provide greater scrutiny on the department, following a series of controversies and resignations in recent months.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.


Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.


Mill City Museum in the running to be named best history museum in the U.S.

The museum offers scenic views of the Mississippi River.


Man charged with attempted murder of White Bear Lake police officer

Daniel Holmgren Jr., 33, was being served an arrest warrant at the time of the incident.


Gallery: 1,000-acre Wisconsin resort listed for nearly $4.3M

The lush landscape features a creek and private lake.


DHS commissioners

DHS deputy commissioners who quit last week are staying after all

It comes less than a day after the DHS Chief of Staff resigned.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 9.47.41 AM

DHS commissioner Tony Lourey announces shock resignation

His department has been under increased scrutiny this past week.

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 9.58.10 AM

Gov. Tim Walz appoints new DHS commissioner

Former commissioner Tony Lourey resigned last month.

MN Department of Human Services (DHS)

'Dysfunction' at DHS led to $29M overpayments to tribal groups

The results of an audit investigation were released on Tuesday.

Gov. Tim Walz to hire outside consultant as he looks at breakup of DHS

The embattled department has been the subject of several controversies this year.

Gov. Walz confirms DHS has overpaid tribal groups $25M since 2014

The overpayment was revealed by the Pioneer Press on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2021-03-09 at 3.41.37 PM

Mary Ricker to resign as Minnesota's education commissioner

She is being replaced by deputy commissioner Heather Mueller.