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Sviggum gives up paid job, stays on as U of M regent

Former House Speaker Steve Sviggum is giving up his $80,000-a-year job to keep a no-pay position as a University of Minnesota regent.

A committee of three regents last week decided the Kenyon Republican had a conflict of interest sitting on the university's governing board while teaching part time at the school's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

"While disappointed that I will not be able to continue to teach, I do know that serving the best interests of the University of Minnesota is my unquestioned priority," Sviggum said in a letter announcing his decision.

Sviggum last week said he needed to discuss the matter with family before deciding which job to quit. He took over as a regent last month following a legislative vote to put him on the board.

He will continue through the semester before leaving Humphrey. On Wednesday, he hosts a forum with legislative leaders and key members of the Dayton administration in a discussion about how the final budget solution could look.

Humphrey leaders said they are sorry to see Sviggum go.

Director Larry Jacobs of the Humphrey School's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance said that in the past few years Sviggum has helped students and others at Humphrey better understand the legislative process.

Despite his decision, Sviggum maintains there is no conflict of interest with him holding the two positions.

"It's important to state that throughout the process of regent selection, complete transparency and openness have been the fact," he said.