Brian Bakst, Published August 28 2009
Pawlenty adviser becomes his new chief of staffST. PAUL – A behind-the-scenes political adviser who helped put Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty before national audiences filled the governor’s chief of staff vacancy Thursday.
Bob Schroeder becomes the fifth person to hold the title under Pawlenty. Previous chief of staff Matt Kramer left this month to take a job at the University of Minnesota.
From 2003 to 2008, Schroeder was Pawlenty’s deputy chief of staff. He left that post last year to privately coordinate national media interviews and other profile-building political events for the GOP governor as he stumped for presidential candidate John McCain.
Schroeder, 52, was among a loose-knit group of Pawlenty advisers when the governor was under consideration for the No. 2 slot on McCain’s ticket. Pawlenty is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012.
In an interview, Schroeder said he will give up the political duties he had done on a volunteer basis and will concentrate on policy and managing the office. Public employees are restricted from engaging in politics on state time.
“I have lived under that condition, and I have no trouble continuing to do so,” Schroeder said.
In a statement, Pawlenty called Schroeder “a seasoned leader with experience and good judgment.”
He starts the new assignment Monday and will be paid a $119,997 salary. By comparison, Pawlenty makes $120,113 per year.
Pawlenty also elevated two staff members – communications director Brian McClung and senior adviser Paul Anderson – to be deputy chiefs of staff. Their respective salaries of $103,502 and $93,793 won’t change.
Schroeder will resign from a 12-member panel that recommends ways to spend state sales tax money on outdoors projects. The council grew out of a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008, and Schroeder was one of Pawlenty’s two appointees on the board. McClung said there is no immediate replacement.
Schroeder has held various state government jobs for most of the last 29 years in Minnesota and Florida. He has degrees from Drew University in New Jersey and Duke University in North Carolina.
The governor has 16 months left in his second and final term. Schroeder was part of Pawlenty’s original staff, and said he had no qualms about rejoining a team winding down.
“I was there the first day to turn on the lights and I’m honored to, hopefully, be there for that transition to whomever follows,” he said.