Veterans Affairs Commissioner Dyrud to retire, Governor Pawlenty appoints Pugliese to lead agency

Saint Paul (March 31,2010) – Governor Tim Pawlenty announced today that Clark Dyrud, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is retiring from state service effective April 14. Governor Pawlenty also announced the appointment of current Deputy Commissioner Michael Pugliese as the incoming Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, effective the same date.

“Clark Dyrud has been an exceptional advocate for Minnesota’s veterans,” Governor Pawlenty said. “With more than 30 years of service to our veterans, he has touched the lives of thousands. We are extremely grateful to him and thank him for his service.”

Dyrud was appointed Commissioner of Veterans Affairs by Governor Pawlenty in March 2005. He served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 as a squad leader in a mechanized infantry unit. While serving, he was wounded in combat and received a Purple Heart. He started working with veterans in 1973 and his career with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs began in 1980.

Michael Pugliese will be the state’s 16th Commissioner of Veterans Affairs. Pugliese has served as Deputy Commissioner since January 2001 and was Acting Commissioner from December 2004 to March 2005. He served with the United States Marines Corps from 1987 to 1991.

Pugliese began his career serving veterans after graduating from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Service Officers Academy in 1994. Prior to joining the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, he worked as a DAV National Service Officer in Minnesota and was promoted to supervise the state’s national service office.

“Michael will be an excellent leader for our state’s veterans and their families,” Governor Pawlenty said. “He will continue to ensure that our veterans know we appreciate and support them in both our words and deeds.”

The Commissioner of Veteran Affairs reports to the Governor and receives a salary of $108,393 per year. The Department works to ensure that Minnesota’s veterans, their dependents and survivors receive the benefits and services to which they are entitled.