Dayton Appoints Human Rights, Department of Administration Commissioners

Governor Mark Dayton speaks during 2011 Blue State Ball

Governor Mark Dayton speaks during 2011 Blue State BallGovernor Mark Dayton today announced Kevin Lindsey, a civil litigation attorney in the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney, as his Commissioner of Human Rights. Mr. Lindsey brings over 15 years experience resolving complex legal and public policy questions to the Dayton Administration. His deep familiarity and passion for issues concerning human services, housing, employment and civil litigation in both the private and public sector make him ideally suited for the position.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights’ mission is “to make Minnesota discrimination-free.” It serves as a neutral state agency dedicated to investigating charges of illegal discrimination and ensuring that businesses seeking state contracts comply with equal opportunity requirements. The Department strives to eliminate discrimination by educating Minnesotans about their rights and responsibilities under the state Human Rights Act.

“Kevin is a respected lawyer and advocate with deep experience in the community working on issues of fairness in the workplace and in the community,” said Governor Dayton. “He will be a strong, professional voice in the Dayton Administration.”

“I look forward to working with Governor Dayton in the Department of Human Rights and will strive to make its mission of making Minnesota discrimination-free a reality,” said Lindsey. “I am humbled and honored to have been selected by the Governor for this position and I’m excited about the opportunity to serve.”

Kevin Lindsey received his JD and BA from the University of Iowa, where as a law student he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Iowa Law Review. He worked for the firm of Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly where he practiced civil litigation, primarily representing clients in employment, product liability, contract and health law. He also brings private sector experience as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Axis, Inc., where he was responsible for managing human resources operations, ensuring legal and administrative compliance, and risk management. Prior to joining Ramsey County Mr. Lindsey worked for the firm of Halleland, Lewis, Nilan & Johnson in the employment and health law groups.

Governor Mark Dayton also announced the appointment of Spencer Cronk as Commissioner of the Department of Administration. Mr. Cronk comes to his position with significant experience in government redesign and organizational development. He previously served as Executive Director of Organizational Development and Senior Advisor for the Department of Small Business Services for the City of New York. In the Bloomberg Administration, Mr. Cronk worked to streamline and reorganize city services and built a track record around performance improvement, data-driven decision-making and finding efficiencies in large organizations. Among his accomplishments include the design and implementation of a comprehensive performance management system, and the development of a program for integrating new employees, which was used citywide as a best practice template for the City of New York’s 300,000 employees.

The Minnesota Department of Administration provides a broad range of business management, administrative and professional services and a variety of resources to state and local government agencies and to the public. In addition to assisting government agencies with strategic planning and organization, the Department of Administration manages over 800 leases and preserves state assets by managing risk.

“Spencer is a talented leader who has demonstrated his ability to get results in large, complex public sector organizations,” said Governor Dayton. “He brings great energy and experience to my administration. I welcome him as key player in our administration’s efforts to make state government work better for people.”

“I am excited to join the Dayton Administration and work with the Governor to develop more efficient processes that deliver better results for Minnesotans,” said Cronk. “Now more than ever Government needs to learn how to do more with less, and I’m committed to enhancing inter-agency cooperation and eliminating unnecessary redundancies in order to create a leaner, more cost-effective Government that delivers high-quality, professional services to citizens.”

Prior to working in the Bloomberg Administration in New York City, Cronk worked in Oakland, California for the National Community Development Institute, where he helped provide capacity-building support for non-profit organizations, including strategic planning, human capital development and fiscal sustainability. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program and was a Public Affairs Fellow with the Coro New York Leadership Center. Mr. Cronk grew up in Minnesota and received his Bachelor of Science with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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