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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Baker resigns as planning director, citing 'significant differences' with county

Baker resigns as planning director, citing 'significant differences' with county

Mitzi Baker has formally resigned from her position as director of the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department.

The resignation, which takes effect immediately, comes one month after Baker was placed on administrative leave. County officials have declined to give a reason for the designation, citing data privacy laws. 

But in a letter sent Thursday afternoon to the Planning Administrative Services Committee, Rochester City Council, Mayor Ardell Brede and Olmsted County Board, Baker suggested the dispute stemmed from disagreements between her and county administration.

"Much has changed in the last year, and with the emergence of significant differences with Olmsted County, it is time to step aside and allow the political, organizational, and administrative dynamics and changing expectations to be served by another individual," she wrote.

Baker had worked for the city/county joint planning department for the past 22 years. She took over as director of the department in 2014, and helped lead the city's efforts to draft its first comprehensive plan in decades.

"Though some things could have been improved upon, I did my utmost to promote tolerance, integrity, and informed decisions without shying away from important issues," said Baker, adding that she had received high marks on every annual performance review throughout her tenure.

Reached Thursday, Olmsted County Administrator Heidi Welsch — who took over in late 2017 — declined to comment on the situation.

In Baker's absence, Ben Griffith, deputy director for of the planning department, has assumed the role of interim director. 

You can read Baker's full resignation letter here.

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