Staff Shake Up in Governor Burgum’s Office

Readers of ND xPlains have contacted me about a shake up going on in Governor Doug Burgum’s office. I’ve been told by more than one source there has been at least one firing and that Burgum has requested more resignations. Rumor is, if those resignations are not turned in within the week, they will also be fired. In other words, Burgum is cleaning house and readers close to the situation have said other staff are “shocked” and worried about losing their jobs now.

Staff shake ups here and there are common regardless of what sector you work. However, mass exodus means there is something more going on. Seeing as these people work for you and at times have the ear of the Governor depending on their position, I think we should know about the changes.

During the legislative session, I heard from former colleagues in both parties about the Governor’s office absence in the process. Legislators said there seemed to be a lot of confusion from Burgum’s staff and that they were in over their heads. Though I understood the frustration from legislators, I was able to give the Governor’s office a pass. They had just won election partly based on their “outsider” status and were thrown right into the deep end of the fast pace 80-day session. Burgum and much of his staff were new to this process and learning.

With that said, when I heard about these forced resignations and firings, I automatically assumed some of the new staff didn’t pan out and that they’d be asked to leave after being given a chance. That doesn’t entirely seem to be the case. I’m told one of the firings was that of someone who has been in the Capitol a long time and worked under previous administrations in various capacities. Institutional knowledge gone.

Perhaps there were tensions behind the doors in the Capitol that finally hit a breaking point. Perhaps the embarrassment that followed the handling of EPA Director Scott Pruitt’s visit to North Dakota by the Governor’s office that pushed some of these people out the door. Or perhaps it is the quiet “reinvention” of government Burgum’s campaign promised. It will be interesting to see how the changes pan out.

Tyler Axness