The 30-person board that is advising Gov.-elect Tim Walz on his transition into office gathered for the first time Monday with a tight time frame to accomplish its goals.
A deadline is looming for the advisory group to meet one of its primary objectives: helping fill the 22 state agency commissioner positions. Applicants for those jobs must submit their résumés by Dec. 7.
In addition to helping identify and connect with candidates to lead state agencies, the members are offering guidance on budget and policy priorities. The administration is rapidly preparing to take office Jan. 7 and debut a nearly $50 billion two-year budget in mid-February.
"We've gathered you here today to ask for your wisdom and advice as we set up our shared government over the next couple of months. … Your values, your perspectives, your leadership and your relationships will be an invaluable resource to us," soon-to-be Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan told the transition advisory board.
The board members represent a wide range of interests. The mayor of Fergus Falls, past president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, owner of Afro Deli restaurants and a Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe executive are a few members of the group.
Flanagan is leading the board, which is scheduled to meet three times over the next month. Monday's meeting focused on hiring. It started with introductions and opening remarks, but the rest of their discussion was closed to the public.
At a Dec. 10 meeting, they will discuss the values that should guide the administration's budget and policy priorities, and on Dec. 17 they will advise the state's new leaders on how to engage Minnesotans moving forward, Flanagan said.