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F-bomb repercussions

The legislative liaison for the Department of Health and Human Services who told Rep. Bill Stoltze to “shut the f#%k up” over what she thought was a mute phone has been removed from her position. Wilda Laughlin will no longer be the face of the department to the legislature. Her replacement has yet to be chosen, HSS Commissioner Bill Streur said.

She’s not leaving HSS, but because of the incident, she will be doing more behind the scenes work. “She’s been a good worker,” Streur said.

The “shut the f#%k up” snafu happened on July 24, during a particularly tense House Finance Committee hearing on HSS’s budget. Committee members were becoming increasingly frustrated as time went on with what they perceived as the department’s lack of preparation and inability to answer questions. This frustration reached a boiling point earlier on Wednesday during the topic of federal sequestration, when members were scolding department officials for their inability to answer even broad questions on its impact to state programs.

Laughlin was on the phone listening and assumed that the phone was on mute when she screamed, “shut the f#%k up” as Chugiak Republican Rep. Bill Stoltze was talking

Stoltze is co-chair of the House Finance Committee, which approves HSS’s budget.

Streur recently spoke to Stoltze about the incident. He described the representative as “amazingly gracious.”

(Update: Jason Hooley, who is the director of Boards and Commissions, will be taking Laughlin’s job).

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com