Two Republican state representatives — Debra Kiel from Crookston and Nick Zerwas from Elk River — are asking Governor Tim Walz for an independent outside audit of the state Human Services Department.

It comes after the Pioneer Press reported the state must pay back the federal government an estimated 48 million dollars for improper payments to some chemical dependency treatment providers — that’s on top of 25 million dollars overpaid to two Native American tribes for substance abuse treatment. Representatives Kiel and Zerwas say dysfunction in the state Human Services Department has reached “fever-pitch.” Deputy Commissioner Claire Wilson, who resigned earlier but rescinded her resignation after Commissioner Tony Lourey left, announced over the weekend she *is* leaving. Acting Human Services Commissioner Pam Wheelock departs Friday and incoming Commissioner Jodi Harpstead takes over after the Labor Day weekend.

Governor Walz says he supports an independent audit.