Editorial: Appointment of Molnau a good symbolic move

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 2, 2003

Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty served notice that saving money is not just something he’s going to talk about. He’s already finding new ways to save the state a little cash and, more importantly, showing that it won’t be business as usual in state government under his administration.

By appointing Lt. Gov.-elect Carol Molnau to be commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Pawlenty saved the state the relatively small sum of $108,000, which is what the MnDOT commissioner would get paid. Molnau will take her Lieutenant Governor salary and forego the income she would get from the commissioner job.

The symbolic value of the move, and the new standard it sets for lieutenant governors, are more significant. Pawlenty is sending the message that he won’t just stick to traditional means when proposing ways to trim expenses from the state bureaucracy. He’s showing that he’s serious about eliminating duplication and finding innovative ways to make government more efficient.

Email newsletter signup

And finding more work for the lieutenant governor is a good way to show the administration intends to get the most for its money. Molnau’s job is one that doesn’t exactly load its owner down with important responsibilities. Why not get the lieutenant more involved?

Molnau seems to be a good fit. She has experience as chairwoman of the House Transportation Finance Committee and Pawlenty promised to turn her loose on MnDOT during his campaign. Give the new governor credit for getting the most out of what he has, and let’s hope he can help state government do the same.

Tribune editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s management and editorial staff.