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Minnesota DHS reassigns its under-investigation inspector general

More changes at the embattled department.
Carolyn Ham DHS

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has reassigned its Inspector General Carolyn Ham to another department while she's investigated.

Interim DHS Commissioner Pam Wheelock says Ham has been reassigned to the DHS Office of General Counsel while the investigation into a complaint leveled against her is completed.

Taking her place Aug. 5 on an interim basis as the DHS Inspector General is Bob Jacobson, the former director of professional development at the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and director of public safety for the City of New Brighton.

Ham was placed on paid leave in the wake of a March report that revealed a "serious rift" between her office and the DHS' child care assistance program fraud investigators, amid disagreements over the amount of fraud prevalent in Minnesota.

Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor report found that child care fraud was likely lower than CCAP fraud investigators claimed, but higher than the amount proven by prosecutors.

Days after the release of the report, Ham was placed on administrative leave while a complaint against her was investigated, an investigation that was criticized earlier this month by Ham, who claimed it hadn't even started despite her having continued to take home her salary since March.

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Since then, there has been more controversy and turnover at the DHS with Commissioner Tony Lourey resigning along with his chief of staff, while two deputy commissioners threatened to resign before backtracking amid complaints over the direction of the department.

Wheelock has appointed Jacobson to take over management of Ham's office on Aug. 5, and will charge him with implementing reforms proposed by Gov. Walz and passed by the legislature.

"Bob understands the role the Office of Inspector General plays in making sure care in licensed programs is safe and that allegations of fraud by providers or recipients are promptly addressed." Wheelock said.

"With Bob’s appointment, the office will have strong, consistent leadership as they implement an ambitious agenda of improvements."

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