Dayton pay raises rile Republicans

Gov. Mark Dayton gave pay hikes to his cabinet in January that amount to $802,990.

Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans notified the Minnesota Legislature of the pay raises in a Feb. 4 letter.

In all, 26 commissioners and agency heads received raises. The salaries for most took effect when Dayton was sworn into his second term on Jan. 5.

The Chair of the Met Council received the biggest pay hike with a boost of $86,502 but the position is also being changed from a part-time to a full-time position. Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck will now receive an annual salary of $144,991. His predecessor, Sue Haigh was paid $58,489.

The highest paid commissioners will receive an annual salary of $154,992. The commissioners of transportation, revenue, public safety, natural resources, management and budget and human services will receive that amount.

Dayton and the DFL-controlled Legislature changed the pay scale for commissioners and other agency heads last year. They argued that limiting a commissioner’s salary to $119,517 a year limits the pool of qualified candidates.

Republicans, however, are criticizing the move.

“At a time when take-home pay for families remains flat and some Minnesotans are still struggling to make ends meet, it’s outrageous that the governor would approve enormous salary increases for commissioners and political appointees already making six-figure salaries,” said Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville.

A spokesman for Dayton defended the raises.

“This will allow state government to recruit and retain the best and the brightest,” said Dayton’s spokesman Matt Swenson.

Swenson added that commissioner salaries had not been raised for a decade and that Dayton was unlikely to approve another raise anytime soon.

Here’s a look at the pay hikes by agency:

The difference in pay between 2014 and 2015.


  • Brunsi

    Limits the pool of qualified candidates …. Really? Under that logic Mark dayton should be paying the taxpayers of minnesota for the privilege of acting as governor. My father once told me that there are two easy ways of getting rich, one is to inherit your wealth and the other is to get a government job.

    • You’re resentful that there are people who make more money than you do. That’s OK, as long as you face facts. But you’re blaming the government for it, and that’s not OK. The government is not to blame here. Sure, Dayton blew it with this pay raise thing. But no one in government is getting rich. As it turns out, working for the government is about the only way of earning a livable wage in this era of “race to the bottom” economics being espoused by corporations as the only way they can make money. Who’s kidding whom, here?

  • Larry Hvinden

    Just like that Democrat idiot to increase the politicians pay instead of giving it back to the hard working working class. When is the public going to wake up and put a stop to this bull crap.

    • Larry, with all due respect, I agree with some of your ideas, but your name-calling tells me you’re just ranting and not really serious.

  • Larry Hvinden

    It is absolutely insane that that fool Dayton has the balls to give all these people 25/35 thousand dollar raises when most people aren’t even getting pay raises. Why do we allow this to happen. Politicians know that no one will do anything so they go ahead and do crap like this. Isn’t it about time that the general public put a stop to it. The first revolution started because of things like this.

  • Tyrone Allen

    Nice headline – way to keep it non-partisan and objective! You mean no Democrats are “riled” by this egregious cronyism and this blatant disregard for the taxpayers who are being fleeced to provide the money this silver-spoon bastard spreads around to his pals?

    Anybody with an ounce of decency and a modicum of ethics should be outraged by this little dictator’s vile actions.

    Anyone who isn’t “riled” ought to have his head examined.

  • Lisa Bailey

    Has anyone considered the “benefit package” state employees receive? Private industry cannot match a guaranteed pension or a 40 hour work week. These are all details for the boy who wants to be king but has no work experience.

    • You’re right about that, but let’s face facts. Industry CAN AFFORD to pay workers a pension and provide a 40 hour work week, as well as a living wage, which is the elephant in the room. Have you seen the DOW lately? Industry is making money hand over fist and taking great pride in the fact that they don’t have to share their wealth. That’s an abuse of the capitalist system, one we’ve been dealing with for decades, and one that is getting more difficult to do with the leverage being gained by the tea-baggers.

  • Simply put, the raises were not politically expedient. Governor Dayton will be signing a political death knell for democrats if this goes through. It’s just not a good time to be offering such generous salary packages right now in light of the tenuous nature of both the economy and the political landscape. As a DFLer I’m not happy about it because first and foremost I want the the party’s leadership position to continue into the foreseeable future. Another governor remotely resembling Pawlenty would be a catastrophe for this state, considering we’re just now climbing out of the hole Pawlenty created with his austerity measures. Bad strategy by Dayton to push this right now.