Last week Governor Dayton took advantage of a one-day window and raised the pay of more than two dozen commissioners, nearly all of which were already making six-figure salaries. 11 of those commissioners will now make more than $150,000 per year.
Two years ago, Democrats decided to give unilateral authority to the Governor to raise commissioner pay, an authority that was previously in the hands of the legislature. Thanks to Republican leadership, that power has now been taken away and the legislature now will decide all future executive pay decisions. We will look at ways next year to possibly reduce the commissioner salaries because they simply are not supported by Minnesotans, and are a slap in the face to families who are seeing only modest pay increases at their own jobs.
Family incomes have grown by only about 2% per year over the past few years. Despite calls from Republicans to limit commissioner increases to what Minnesota families are seeing, the Governor raised most salaries by 30% or more, including a more than 100% increase for the new chair of the Metropolitan Council, Adam Duininck. Mr. Duininck is the former director of a liberal campaign group, and has direct family ties to the Dayton administration.
The Governor arrogantly called opponents of the pay increases "anti-government partisans who don't understand the sophisticated administrative skills required to provide quality government services, and care even less." Opposition to these pay increases cuts across all party lines and demographics. 70% of Minnesotans in a KSTP poll earlier this year said they opposed these pay increases.
What the Governor ignores or simply does not care about is that these positions are about public service—not padding your wallet. Six-figure salaries for four or eight years are more than fair, especially considering many commissioners go on to well-paid private-sector jobs after their time in government.
Public service should never be about the pay check. But once again, Governor Dayton has proved he is out of touch with Minnesotans and the families who pay the salaries of these commissioners.
Have a great weekend,