Dayton uses second chance to raise pay for commissioners
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators gave Gov. Mark Dayton one day to raise his commissioners' pay and, to no one's surprise, he did that today. Dayton is giving an average $20,000 raise to his commissioners and overall raises are similar to the $80...
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators gave Gov. Mark Dayton one day to raise his commissioners' pay and, to no one's surprise, he did that today.
Dayton is giving an average $20,000 raise to his commissioners and overall raises are similar to the $800,000 he awarded them in January, before he and legislative leaders agreed that the pay would be revoked and the governor would be able to up commissioners' pay today only.
His action early this year created an uproar among lawmakers who were upset that he gave the raises and did not tell them until nearly a month later.
"It's a lot of money, it's more money than most Minnesotans make," Dayton said on Minnesota Public Radio. "But these are very talented people who have the ability to command these salaries -- in fact, higher salaries -- in the public sector elsewhere, even in Minnesota."
Top commissioner salaries of $154,992 went to those running transportation, revenue, public safety, natural resources, human services and budget departments. Not far behind, at $150,002, were commissioners of corrections, education, employment and economic development, health and pollution control agencies.
He could have raised those 11 and eight other commissioners' salaries to $164,803.
Eight more commissioners will be paid up to $144,991, short of a $148,694 cap.
"All Minnesotans depend upon their skills to organize and deliver needed public services, while also creating efficiencies and saving taxpayers money," Dayton wrote to legislative leaders about his commissioners.
He also wrote: "The salaries of high-level public officials are continent targets for anti-government partisans, who don't understand the sophisticated administration skills required to provide quality government services, and care even less."
Republicans have said this week that big raises are not needed.