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Smith leaves as head of DMC board

December 29, 2017 GMT

Since being formed in 2013, the Destination Medical Center Corp. Board has only known one chairwoman.

Today, that chairwoman sent a letter to the board announcing she is stepping down.

“I am proud of the work that we accomplished together and am confident that under your leadership DMC can continue to move ahead,” Lt. Gov. Tina Smith stated in the letter. “During the past four years, we have made significant progress — with $297 million in private investment, and 19 projects either proposed, under construction or completed.”

Smith was selected by Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this month to replace Sen. Al Franken after he announced he would resign from the U.S. Senate amid sexual misconduct allegations.

A Franken spokesman has said the senator will leave office Tuesday, with Smith slated to step in Wednesday.

It was also a Dayton decision that originally put Smith on the DMC Corp. board.

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“Tina Smith has been a tremendous champion for Rochester’s Destination Medical Center,” Dayton said this morning in a statement sent to the Post-Bulletin. “She led our administration’s efforts to secure passage of the legislation that created this historic public-private partnership. As the first chair of the DMC Board, Tina has been crucial to the project’s successes.

“My administration will continue our strong support for the Destination Medical Center.”

Under DMC legislation, the governor selected four of the board’s eight members. Another of his initial picks for the board, R.T. Rybak is expected to serve as interim board chairman until the board elects a new leader, according to Smith’s letter.

With Smith’s resignation, Dayton has two positions to fill. Board member Susan Park Rani resigned earlier this year. Smith and Rani have been the board’s only female members since it was created.

The DMC Corp. Board is designed to oversee the use of $455 million in public funds as part of the planned $3.5 billion effort.

Last week, Lisa Clarke, executive director of the DMC Economic Development Agency, said she expects both open seats could be filled by the board’s next meeting if Smith stepped down.

The full board is scheduled to meet March 22, but the executive committee is slated to meet Feb. 8. In addition to Smith and Rybak, Olmsted County Commissioner Jim Bier serves on the executive committee as the board’s treasurer.

On Wednesday, Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, another board member, cited some uncertainty with Smith’s appointment as U.S. senator but said he expects one of Smith’s priorities would remain in place if she stepped down.

During the board’s last meeting on Nov. 2, Smith said she wanted to make affordable housing a priority for the board in 2018,

Brede said with Bier and Rochester City Council member Mark Hickey on the board he expects there is enough local support to keep the goal intact, regardless of who replaces Smith and Rani on the board.

In her new position, Smith said she anticipates staying connected to the DMC mission.

“As Rochester becomes ‘America’s City for Health,’ we also must ensure it remains one of the most livable cities in America,” she wrote in her letter. “We have more work to do to provide all Rochester area residents with quality, affordable housing and transportation choices.”