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New labor commissioner appointed

North Dakota's incoming labor commissioner Bonnie Storbakken, right, greets Tony Weiler, the current Labor Commissioner after she was introduced by Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Thursday, May 16, 2013 in Bismarck. Weiler will be leaving the position to become director of the State Bar Association of North Dakota. Storbakken will start on May 27th. (AP Photo/The Tribune, Tom Stromme)

BISMARCK -- Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Thursday appointed Bismarck attorney Bonnie Storbakken as the state's new labor commissioner.

Storbakken will begin May 27, replacing current commissioner Tony Weiler, who will become the executive director of the State Bar Association of North Dakota.

The state Labor Department establishes and enforces rules related to the wages and working conditions of North Dakota employees. It also administers and enforces human rights laws in the state.

The department has 12 staff members and a current, two-year budget of $1.96 million.

Storbakken has owned and operated Storbakken Law & Mediation in Bismarck since 2007, specializing in professional mediation services to help parties resolve conflicts outside the court process.

Storbakken will receive a salary of $90,000. She is a 2004 graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law.

"Bonnie brings to this important position broad legal experience and extensive expertise in mediation services, which will serve as a strong foundation as she works to protect the rights of North Dakota citizens," Dalrymple said.

Storbakken said Thursday the position is a different take on what she does now in mediation services and something she is looking forward to.

"My ambition was to help people in conflict, that's where I fit, that's my niche," she said about going into law. "I don't shy away from conflict."

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.