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Minnesota's budget chief leaving to join University of Minnesota

Myron Frans is being replaced at Minnesota Management and Budget by Jim Schowalter.

The long-serving Commissioner for Minnesota Management and Budget is leaving to take up a new role at the University of Minnesota.

Gov. Tim Walz confirmed Wednesday that Myron Frans is leaving the department having been appointed to the role by former Gov. Mark Dayton following the departure of Jim Schowalter for UnitedHealth in December 2014.

And it is Schowalter who will be returning to his old job, with Gov. Walz announcing he will be the new Chief Financial Officer for the state.

Frans is leaving to become the new Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations at the University of Minnesota, a position he'll take up on Sept. 3.

It comes at a critical time for state budgets, with the surplus projected at the end of 2019 being decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Frans last month announcing it's now facing a $2.4 billion deficit.

"We are incredibly grateful for Commissioner Frans’ service to our state. Because of his leadership, Minnesota is in a stronger position to weather the fiscal consequences of this pandemic, and we wish him well in his new position,” said Governor Walz. 

“At a critical time for our state, Jim Schowalter will bring extensive experience and a proven track record of effective governance. I look forward to working together to balance our budget while continuing to invest in the services and programs that make Minnesota a great place to live."

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Walz credits Schowalter with helping the state recover from a $6.2 billion budget deficit inherited when Gov. Dayton took over, and "recommended changes in budget reserve policy that eventually led to an improved credit rating and provided stability during economic downturns."

"I am thrilled at the opportunity to return to Minnesota Management and Budget to continue Minnesota’s tradition of smart financial and personnel leadership," said Schowalter. 

"I’m ready to dive in with Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, the Legislature, and our partners to develop a budget that addresses our current situation and delivers the critical services that Minnesotans depend on.”

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