The Potluck

Former Minn. revenue commissioner Cynthia Bauerly named interim Senate DFL chief of staff

By: - October 8, 2021 3:17 pm

Former Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly has been named Senate DFL interim chief of staff.

The Senate DFL on Friday announced a staff shakeup under new Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen of Edina. 

According to an announcement sent to Senate DFL staff and senators, former Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly will serve as interim chief of staff, replacing John Pollard, who served his last day in the job last Friday. 

Former communications director Shelly Schafer is also departing and Skyler Vilt will serve as interim communications director for the caucus. 

Bauerly “will work with members and staff during this transition to build communication and support for all of us to work together as effectively as possible,” according to an announcement from López Franzen. “She will also help build our permanent leadership staff.”

The staff changes come more than two months after the Senate DFL found itself under criticism for the handling of a sexual harassment complaint involving a former Senate DFL employee. 

The former staffer, Cynthia Callais, who was employed by State Sen. Jason Isaacson, DFL-Shoreview, said Isaacson’s brother, Clay Schwartzwalter, harassed her for months but her complaint was not investigated in the Senate. 

Schwartzwalter, who denied the harassment, was campaign manager for former Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury. Pollard was among those who handled the complaint. Both he and Kent maintained they handled it appropriately. 

The matter is now under external review.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.