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Continued: This will be our state's 'undoing'

  • Article by: LORI STURDEVANT , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 7, 2014 - 6:36 PM

Sertich describes all this with a geeky enthusiasm that he says he’s caught from Dayton.

“There is no bigger champion for the Unsession, for plain language, than for any of this stuff, than Mark Dayton,” Sertich said. “When Minnesotans are frustrated that they aren’t getting the best value from government, he wants to personally fix that problem. He says, ‘We’re going to fix this, and if we don’t, let me know personally — and here’s my phone number.’ You cannot find a commissioner who hasn’t gotten a phone call from him after he hears about an issue. That’s an accountability thing for all of us, too. We don’t want to get a second call from the governor about some individual’s problem.”

Veteran Capitol newsies have seen state government improvement schemes come and go. Every governor has his own version, it seems — Wendell Anderson’s LEAP, Rudy Perpich’s STEP, Arne Carlson’s Children’s Cabinet, Tim Pawlenty’s Drive to Excellence. It would be easy to dismiss Dayton’s “Unsession” as the same old story.

But to do so is to miss a crucial shift in emphasis, especially from Pawlenty’s version. “Drive to Excellence” was about saving money. It was about making government akin to Wal-Mart or today’s Target.

The Unsession is about improving customer service. The model I detect: Dayton’s.


Lori Sturdevant is a Star Tribune editorial ­writer. She is at

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  • Gov. Mark Dayton (speaking to guests after a town-hall forum in Duluth in January) picked up his drive for efficiency from his father’s example, one might surmise.

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