To be clear, they do not specifically call out Mr Tinklenberg. However, the time frame in which the audits were performed and the issues at hand clearly point to Tinklenberg as well.
The panel's main objectives are simple. First, make sure there are policies and procedures in place that foster efficiency, competency, accountability and the wise use of the public's money. Second, make sure all MnDOT staffers are following those policies and procedures.
While MnDOT and its leader, Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, have come under pressure in the wake of the Interstate Highway 35W bridge collapse, our call for this intense scrutiny and potentially massive reforms is rooted more in the findings of an internal MnDOT audit reported Jan. 20 by the Star Tribune.
The audit revealed that since 1999, MnDOT professional staffers have approved cost overruns for projects totaling at least $140 million.
Tinklenberg was MnDOT Commissioner from 1999-October 2002. The Startribune actually ran a series in 2003 that highlighted these problems in MnDOT.
The series does not reflect kindly on Tinklenberg's time as MnDOT Commissioner. Pawlenty and Molnau are also quoted as working to bring more accountability to MnDOT under their leadership.
The reality is that Pawlenty, Molnau, and Tinklenberg have failed Minnesotan's.
Here are the links to the MnDOT series, read them for yourself.
The SC Times editorial continues.
Couple that attitude with two paragraphs from the Star Tribune report and Minnesotans have all the reasons needed to put MnDOT under a microscope:
"The 2007 audit ... attributes the problem to ineffective management and insufficient controls. It found that MnDOT managers have often expanded construction contracts without written justification or itemization, a violation of state contract regulations. ...
"The audit, which reviewed projects from 1999 through mid-2006, shows that contractors and consultants are increasingly being paid millions beyond their original bids at a time when the agency is delaying many projects because of a lack of funding — $85 million short this fiscal year alone."
Tinklenberg's non-competitive bid contracts seem to have been commonplace in Molnau's administration as well.
It will be interesting to see if SEH, one of the companies that received a non-competitive bid contract, who also works closely with the Tinklenberg Group now, contributed to Molnau's campaign coffers just as they did with Tinklenberg's.
We know it happened in 2006. I'm anxiously awaiting his first FEC report of 2008.
Is it possible that Molnau will keep her post at MnDOT because the anointed DFL candidate in the 6th has been proven equally as inept?
Why the harsh scrutiny of Tinklenberg's record?
First of all, we must vet our candidates. If some no name blogger who works 5o+ hours a week at 2 jobs can figure this stuff out with google and yahoo searches, a highly paid right wing political operative probably already has this stuff.
Republican Party of Minnesota Communications Director Michael Brodkorb said Republicans look forward to an examination and discussion of Elwyn Tinklenberg's record as Commissioner of Transportation and as a lobbyist. (Emphasis added)
Do you really want this race to be over by August 2008?
Do you want the Republicans pulling their money out of the 6th because Bachmann has a 25 point lead over a scandal ridden Elwyn Tinklenberg, pouring money into the 1st, 2nd and 3rd CD's to defeat Walz and hold the other GOP seats?
I, for one, refuse to bury my head in the sand and ignore the past.