ST. PAUL -- Lyall Schwarzkopf, Gov. Arne Carlson's chief of staff and first appointee, has resigned, a high-ranking administration source says.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Schwarzkopf resigned Thursday because he felt there was too much focus on the administration's problems and that his resignation was the only way to focus on a positive agenda.
The source declined to say who would succeed Schwarzkopf. But another high-ranking source from Carlson's 1990 election campaign said Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce president Connie Levi would take over temporarily, pending approval of the chamber's board of directors.
Neither Schwarzkopf nor Levi returned telephone calls to their homes.
Levi, a Dellwood resident who has been close to Carlson and is known as a moderate in Independent-Republican circles, was elected to the Minnesota House in 1978. In 1985, she became the first woman to be elected House majority leader, the No. 2 position in the House hierarchy.
She did not seek re-election in 1986, when Independent-Republicans lost control of the House to DFLers.
The Carlson administration has encountered considerable criticism since the end of the legislative session, primarily because of the governor's failure to deliver 14 veto messages to the House and Senate within the three-day constitutional deadline. There was at least one public call for Schwarzkopf's resignation following that brouhaha.
Sen. Fritz Knaak, IR-White Bear Lake, has said Schwarzkopf should quit his post. But Carlson steadfastly defended his staff's handling of the matter.
House Minority Leader Terry Dempsey of New Ulm said Carlson confided Wednesday to a group of supporters at a reception in Duluth that there would be personnel changes.
``There was probably 50 or 60 people there. He gave us about 10 minutes. Then, kind of as an aside, he said there will be some personnel changes made this week, on Friday,'' Dempsey said.
He said the governor did not say what changes would be made. Schwarzkopf is a former IR legislator who was Minneapolis city coordinator until Carlson tapped him for the No. 2 spot in his administration after winning election last November.
He kept a generally low profile during the seven months he served as Carlson's righthand man, except during the final weeks of the 1991 legislative session when he negotiated the $607 million tax increase bill with DFL legislative leaders. He then became embroiled in several testy exchanges with DFL negotiators.
Some DFL lawmakers said Schwarzkopf isn't the problem.
``I think that what's needed is leadership at the top,'' Sen. Bill Luther, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said. ``I think we need a governor that accepts responsibility and provides leadership. I don't think eliminating a staff person who is viewed as very capable is any way to deal with their problems.''
House Speaker-elect Dee Long, DFL-Minneapolis, said Schwarzkopf's departure masks the governor's inadequacies.
``I think the governor is seeking others to blame,'' she said. ``He certainly doesn't seem to take any of the blame himself.''
Some Republicans also defended Schwarzkopf.
``I had a lot of faith in Lyall,'' IR state chairman Bob Weinholzer said. ``There were other problems on the staff, but I don't think it was Lyall. I thought Lyall was a good person doing a good job considering the problems.''