Dayton commissioner payroll increase tops $1M

  1. Listen Reporter Catharine Richert talks with MPR News’ Tom Crann

Payroll for Minnesota’s top agency and department heads will increase by more than $1 million after Gov. Mark Dayton announced salary changes for members of his cabinet.

Dayton in January said he wanted to give the state’s top officials a big raise, in part because he wants to attract the best talent for the jobs who might make more money in the private sector. He estimated the total increase at just over $800,000. But legislators on both sides of the aisle balked and effectively punted the issue to this summer.

On Wednesday, Dayton unveiled the final raises, telling MPR News they were very similar to what he proposed in January.

However, the payroll for Dayton’s administrators is set to go up much more than that for two reasons.

First, Dayton’s salary plan includes a $42,000 pay increase for all five Public Utility Commission commissioners.

Second, Dayton is poised to fill a new position that wasn’t included on his list earlier this year: The School Trust Lands director will make roughly $125,000 a year.

Dayton also said this morning that Minnesota commissioners haven’t gotten a raise in 10 years. However,  they received a 5 percent raise in each of the last two years. Before that, they hadn’t gotten a raise.

Republicans say Minnesota’s commissioner compensation package is on average 11 percent more than in other states, although that includes data from all of the 1,400-plus public sector managers in Minnesota, not just the two dozen or so agency chiefs. When only those commissioners are compared to people with similar positions in the private sector, they get paid much less.