Kathleen Blatz (’84) Named Special Master to Oversee Funding During State Government Shutdown
JUNE 30, 2011—With a Minnesota state government shutdown looming due to an apparent impasse on budget issues, Ramsey County Chief District Judge Kathleen Gearin appointed Kathleen Blatz (’84) as "special master." Blatz will hear pleas regarding funding and make recommendations to Gearin.
If the July 1 layoff of 22,000 Minnesota government employees comes to pass, only critical state services involving "the security, benefit, and protection of the people" will continue, Gearin said in her June 29 ruling.
Among the critical government functions are basic care for residents of state correctional facilities, regional treatment centers, nursing homes, and veterans homes; maintenance of public safety and public health concerns; benefit payments and medical services to individuals; and essential elements of the state financial system.
Blatz will likely hear from dozens of petitioners, including nonprofit organizations, who believe their funding should be continued during the budget crisis.
Blatz was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1996 by Gov. Arne Carlson. Two years later, she was named chief justice, the state’s first woman appointed to the job. She retired from the role in 2005. She also served as a Hennepin County District Court judge and was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives for 15 years, first elected in 1978 at age 24.
In 2009, Blatz received the Award for Distinguished Service to State Government from the National Governors Association for her years of devoted public service in Minnesota. In addition to a J.D. from the Law School, she has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota.