Governor Pawlenty's Statement on the Resignation of Public Safety Commissioner Rich Stanek-April 16, 2004
Saint Paul-The following is a statement from Governor Tim Pawlenty:
"For Minnesotans, race is an issue that runs deep.
As governor, it's my job to set the highest possible standard for respecting the dignity and worth of all people. It's a subject on which there can be no compromise.
I don't mind telling you this is very difficult. Nobody is perfect. We all have flaws and frailties. I believe in forgiveness and grace, and that we shouldn't be quick to pick up stones.
Rich Stanek is someone I've known for almost ten years in the Minnesota House. I never heard him make an inappropriate remark or behave insensitively toward anyone.
I knew he had been promoted several times by the Minneapolis police department. He'd been appointed to the position of Chair of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board by Governor Carlson. He was repeatedly elected to the Minnesota House. He qualified for one of the highest security clearances in the country.
A few weeks ago, the content of a deposition that occurred in 1992 was shown to me, and I was very troubled by it. I've been meeting with Commissioner Stanek and others to try to understand the history and context of his comments.
I believe Rich Stanek is truly sorry and that his comments in 1992 do not reflect his heart today.
There are critical issues of public safety facing our state. Rich would do anything to avoid compromising the safety of our citizens. He is passionate about improving public safety in Minnesota. He recognizes, however, that continued controversy over his 1992 remarks would jeopardize his effectiveness and our ability to advance important public safety issues in the Legislature.
By mutual agreement with Rich, today I accepted his resignation.
The people of Minnesota need to know that Justice is color blind. There can be no basis to question that commitment in our Commissioner of Public Safety.
Again, since he made these statements, Rich has served Minnesota well, the Minneapolis police department well, and his community and family well. I have no doubt he can serve in other positions with honor. It's the nature of this position that makes this decision necessary.
Today, I am naming Michael Campion, Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, as acting Commissioner of Public Safety. We'll begin our search for a permanent replacement immediately."