Dayton, leaders have mediation schedule, rate

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders are set to begin court-ordered mediation aimed at resolving their budget impasse.

Mediation sessions will be held Thursday and Friday at the offices of the mediator’s former law firm, according to a statement from Dayton’s press secretary office. The two sides agreed last week to hire retired Hennepin County Judge Rick Solum to mediate the dispute.

Dayton is appealing a district court ruling that said his line-item vetoes last spring of House and Senate funding were unconstitutional. The Minnesota Supreme Court is considering the appeal, but first is requiring a “good-faith efforts” to resolve the matter in mediation.

Chief Justice Lorie Gildea wants a progress report on mediation by the end of the month.

The governor and Legislature will split the cost of mediation. Solum is charging $257 per hour, which is half his commercial rate.

The two sides are also pledging to keep the mediation process confidential.

“The parties and the mediator appreciate the public’s understanding that success at a resolution of the pending dispute is advanced by the parties being able to negotiate freely without their give and take being made public during the course of a mediation, and accordingly the parties will not be commenting further prior to the mediation being concluded,” the statement read.