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A conversation with the new commissioner of Minnesota IT Services

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Tarek Tomes, the new commissioner of Minnesota IT Services, has inherited an embattled position.

The information technology agency, known as MNIT, oversees the state's computer systems and has been faulted for the high-profile poor rollout of the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System, or MNLARS.

On Wednesday—just a few days after Tomes started—Gov. Tim Walz announced that MNLARS should be switched to a private vendor.

State IT experts and lawmakers have wrestled with the system since its failed launch in September 2017. The total costs have already topped $100 million.

Tomes, who is Walz's final Cabinet appointment, brings more than two decades of private- and public-sector technology experience to the job. He recently held a similar job in St. Paul as the city's chief innovation officer.

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