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: