Gov. Dayton, the DFL and their allies are doing everything they can to rationalize Gov. Dayton’s decision to dramatically increase his commissioners’ pay:

Members of Gov. Mark Dayton’s Cabinet are getting raises of tens of thousands of dollars, a move the Democrat says is necessary to “keep and attract” the best candidates to the jobs. The pay hikes range between 19 percent and 58 percent, WCCO-TV reported Thursday. Lawmakers were notified of the raises 30 days after they took effect. “In state government we need to keep and attract the best, talented people. … It’s essential to pay them closer to what they are worth,” Dayton said. He added that commissioner salaries have not been raised in 10 years and said he thinks lawmakers deserve a raise, too.

The smallest raise was $22,407 to the Ombudsman for Mental Health, who will now earn $119,997. Top commissioners got 30 percent raises. Also getting a boost is the chairman of the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning agency for the Twin Cities. The job changed from part time to full time, and the pay increased by $83,577 to $144,991.

First, it’s outrageous that the ‘Party of the Little Guy’ quietly raised the pay for people making close to $100,000 a year in salary by 20-75%. House Republicans should immediately pass a bill retroactive to January 1, 2015 that rescinds Gov. Dayton’s pay increases for bureaucrats making $100,000 a year. They should immediately send the bill over to the Senate for their consideration.

When the Senate refuses to debate the bill, House Republicans should insist on its inclusion in the final budget. Let’s see if DFL legislators are willing to fight for those raises heading into an election year. The DFL might be willing to fight that fight. If the DFL is willing to fight for those overpaid bureaucrats’ raises, that’s fine. The House and Senate Republican campaign committees should hire Derek Brigham to create individualized mailers that highlights these DFL legislators as fighting for pay increases for bureaucrats and higher taxes for Minnesota’s small businesses (2013) and the middle class (2013 and 2015).

This table should be part of those mailers:

This warped thinking is what I’d expect from Gov. Dayton:

But Dayton defended the increase as necessary to keep and retain top executives given competition from the private sector.

“There’s no controversy as far as I’m concerned. They haven’t had raises for 12 years,” he said. He acknowledged the salary “are a lot of money” but added that state staffers have left state employ and been able to make twice as much in local government or at universities. The salary increases, he suggested, would stop that drain.

Put differently, Gov. Dayton just gave Myron Frans a huge pay increase:

For those that don’t remember, Commissioner Frans was the person who accepted as Gospel fact that e-tabs would produce enough revenue to pay off the state share of the Vikings stadium. He was off by a paltry 95%.

That makes Commissioner Frans the poster child for Gov. Dayton’s pay raises. Commissioner Frans is the perfect example of why we need to raise public employees’ pay to “attract and keep the best, talented people.”

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8 Responses to “DFL, Gov. Dayton & Myron Frans”

  • Rex Newman says:

    Some thoughts. One, it is wrong that public employees not be given raises for 12 years, if that’s what happened. Two, their benefits no doubt did increase substantially and a fair comparison should list these. Three, many high end public employees are truly underpaid vs. the private sector. Four, many high end public employees are way overpaid, the celebrated Mr. Rosenstone for example. Fifth, high end public pay should be salary and benefits and no more, such as the ridiculous sick time and unused time off paid “retiring” school superintendents. Sixth, a commission of ALL private sector volunteers should evaluate and recommend appropriate salary schedules, subject to adoption by the Legislature. Seventh, the Governor/Administration should not set their own pay. And last, Myron Frans should not be a public employee at all given his demonstrated incompetence – or worse.

  • WALTER Hanson says:


    There seems to be an error with Governor Dayton’s thinking. He claims he needs to recruit the best and brightest, but MN Sure doesn’t have anybody who is bright let alone the best. Shouldn’t you try to look for the best and brightest first to try to get them.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • MtkaMoose says:

    Ditto to Rex Newman’s comments. The real problem with commissioner salaries is not what the commissioner makes – those people have generally already made their money in the private sector. They would most likely be just fine with the previous pay rates. The salary compression that exists for the top managers is where the state loses good people to the private sector or even other public entities who pay substantially more for positions of lesser responsibility.

    Good luck finding a police chief in a Twin Cities suburb with more than 25,000 citizens who worked for less than the Commissioner of Public Safety’s $119,000 salary. That means the top management of a 40 person police department makes way more than the equivalent positions in the Highway Patrol. Likewise for many other equivalent positions in counties and school districts.

    With pay equity driving up salaries at the bottom of the scale and a hard cap at the top you can have salsried managers making less than the union employees they supervise while working way more hours. As second in command at a suburban city finance department (with a AAA bond rating, so we must have done something right) I made less each year than an engineering tech who got overtime. And don’t even try to compare our pay to that of the top finance staff at a $10,000,000+ revenue company.

    That said, blatant political cronyism like Adam Duininck’s appointment to the Met Council in a full-time role with no significant policy or managerial experience should not be the governor’s sole decision.

  • Tim says:

    “pay them closer to what they are worth”??! Why has no one brought up the fact that Duininck, according to Win Minnesota’s public IRS Form 990 filing, was being paid about $77,000 in “the private sector” just prior to being appointed to the met council. That’s hardly a comparable salary. It’s about an $80,000 pay back from the public coffers by Dayton to someone who helped get him elected. Kinda shoots Dayton’s argument–Duininck would NOT be paid this amount in the private sector.

  • Chad Q says:

    It used to be that government work paid less but the benefits were better than the private sector. Now the pay and benefits are better than the private sector. I guess I need to find me a job I’m not qualified to do at Met Council and make a pile of money.

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