In the wake of Sen. Amy Koch’s announcement that she is resigning as Senate Majority Leader, details of former Republican caucus spokesman Michael Brodkorb’s departure from the Senate are trickling out.
“[Brodkorb] wouldn’t come to the Capitol,” said Secretary of the Minnesota Senate Cal Ludeman, who told Brodkorb at the Moose Country restaurant in Lilydale that he would no longer be working for the Senate.
Ludeman and Brodkorb spoke briefly Thursday night, hours after Koch announced her resignation. Brodkorb was her chief spokesman.
“I was trying to get him to come to me,” Ludeman said. “I would always prefer to do these kinds of things in person, not over phone or e-mail.”
Brodkorb’s employment status came up during that conversation, but Ludeman said he didn’t know at the time that he would have to let Brodkorb go.
“I was actually reaching out to him to see if he any reason to talk to me because I thought maybe he would have understood his position relative to [Koch’s],” Ludeman said.
But it wasn’t until Friday at noon that Ludeman knew he would be telling Brodkorb he was out of a job.
All Senate employees are “at-will” employees, Ludeman said. New hires sign documents acknowledging the fact that they could be let go at any point.
Though the rules of the Senate make Ludeman the employer of all Senate workers, including Brodkorb, Ludeman said he made the Brodkorb decision on the recommendation of the Senate’s leadership team.
“I told [the leadership team] that all Senate employees are at-will employees. I said that if they make a recommendation to me that we should exercise that ‘at-will’ status and make sure someone is not employed by the Senate for whatever reason, that could be done,” Ludeman said. “And that’s what they desired to have happen.”
“They didn’t give a reason, they just didn’t want him representing the Senate Majority relative to anything that happened…from Friday afternoon on,” Ludeman said.
“It’s probably the sensitivity of being a communications director that makes this all happen this way,” Ludeman said. “Because that is too important. Senators use that division for their information relative to the events of the day or session, etc. And with Amy Koch’s stepping down, without her there, it was important that he not be in the Senate.”
“This was done respectfully,” Ludeman said. “Even though it was off site, it was with regret. [Brodkorb] was given every chance to communicate about what happens now.”
When contacted by MPR News, Brodkorb said he is not commenting to reporters.