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Former House Minority Leader Tom Pugh appointed judge

Gov. Mark Dayton has named Tom Pugh, a former state House Minority Leader and former member of the Public Utilities Commission, to be a judge in Dakota County.

Pugh replaces Judge Thomas Pock, who retired earlier this year but is now serving statewide as senior judge.

Pugh served in the state House as a DFLer from South St. Paul from 1989 to 2004, when he was appointed to the PUC by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. His PUC term ended this year. He now works as an attorney with Rogosheske, Sieben, Atkins & Pugh.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/21/2011 - 05:34 pm.

    I’m glad to see the Governor helping another long-time DFLer enhance his state retirement income.

    As a judge, Mr. Pugh will earn $129,124.00 / year. The Public Utilities Commission does not list commissioners’ salaries on its website. (I’ve requested it from the PUC and will follow up this posting if and when I receive it.) His salary as a legislator likely was less than $32,000.00 / year.

    I also question the appointment to the bench of a lawyer who spent the last 7 years on the PUC and the 15 years before that in the legislature. He last practiced law on a full time basis in 1988, as best I can determine.

  2. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/22/2011 - 08:04 am.

    James, I hope you were equally concerned about Pawlenty’s last judicial appointments:

    “Gov. Tim Pawlenty reached around the standard judicial selection process Tuesday for one of his last appointees to Hennepin County District Court, naming Jamie L. Anderson, the 35-year-old wife of his deputy chief of staff, to the state’s busiest bench.

    Pawlenty also gave appointments to his staff counsel, Patrick Robben, and to a nurse-turned-lawyer, Mary Vasaly, who works for a respected downtown Minneapolis firm. The governor followed the standard selection process to make those two appointments.

    Anderson was a surprise choice because she works for a small firm, has not been a prominent lawyer and was not screened through the Commission on Judicial Selection. The nonpartisan commission sorts through applicants and provides the names of finalists to the governor”

    For what’s its worth, Pugh was appointed to the PUC by Pawlenty.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/28/2011 - 12:29 pm.

    @2: I missed that appointment, but it confirms my suspicions.

    I suspect that Mr. Pugh was appointed to the PUC by Pawlenty because, by law, no more than half the commissioners may come from one party. That’s meant 3 Republicans and 3 DFLers in the past. The fact that Pugh and Pawlenty were both from Dakota County probably played a role.

    BTW, the PUC commissioners currently earn $88,448. That’s a $41,000 a year bump for Mr. Pugh, quite a way to top off one’s public pension. It could mean as much as $16,000 a year more when he retires.

    Was this seat the one for which these individuals had been recommended as finalists?

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