Poll: 81% Opposed Former MNsure Director’s Vacation

April Todd-Malmlov’s recent vacation, however, was not directly cited in MNsure’s announcement about her resignation.

After April Todd-Malmlov, then-executive director of the MNsure health exchange, began taking heat for vacationing in Costa Rica while MNsure remained plagued with problems, Twin Cities Business asked its online readers whether she should have taken the trip.

Of the 130 respondents to the poll, the vast majority—roughly 81 percent—said no, while the remaining 19 percent said they approved of the vacation. Asked to elaborate on their responses, numerous people said such a move set a poor example, often comparing the decision to that of a manager in the private sector who left his or her employees amid a major business crisis.

The debate sparked by Todd-Malmlov’s recent vacation followed complaints about technical issues at MNsure. For example, 1,000 users were recently asked to redo their applications.

On Tuesday evening, Todd-Malmlov resigned from her post, and Scott Leitzwill was appointed to serve as acting CEO for the time being. The MNsure board is conducting a national search for a permanent chief executive.

Todd-Malmlov’s vacation was not referenced in MNsure’s announcement about her resignation. The organization’s board said that the leadership change will position MNsure “to focus on both the short-term need to fix key technology issues and its long-term mission of enrolling as many Minnesotans as possible in affordable health care.”

“The board believes the organization is at a stage where it needs a CEO to manage both MNsure’s current challenges and position it for greater success in the future,” MNsure Board Chair Brian Beutner said in a statement. “Scott has been a proven leader at the Department of Human Services where he has managed a large and complex organization effectively. We are fortunate to have someone with his capabilities and his intimate understanding of MNsure available to step in quickly and lead us through these critical next few months.”

“MNsure must do better,” Leitz added. “If there are problems or mistakes, we will acknowledge them and fix them.”

The Pioneer Press reported on the resignation, which was revealed after an emergency meeting of the MNsure board of directors. The newspaper pointed out that Leitz has been overseeing Minnesota's Medicaid health insurance program, and he previously served as director of public policy for Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, among other industry roles.

Governor Mark Dayton, who initially defended Todd-Malmlov’s vacation, said in a Wednesday evening statement that he “commends” the MNsure board for “their strong action to change immediately the executive staff leadership at Minnesota’s health insurance exchange.”

“As I have said before—and have made emphatically clear to the MNsure board—now is a critical time for Minnesotans, who are relying on this exchange to purchase good quality, yet affordable, health insurance,” Dayton said. “The recent problems some have experienced with MNsure are completely unacceptable. I am hopeful that this new leadership will lead to their swift resolution.”