“Sometimes people do things without my full knowledge.” That was Gov. Mark Dayton’s (D-MN) response Thursday to news that his Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner, Myron Frans, had recommended massive government pay raises.
“It’s embarrassing to admit after eight years but it happens,” Dayton added. Current Minnesota law caps salaries for local government positions at $171,338, unless a waiver is approved.
On Thursday, WCCO reported that Frans had approved salary cap waivers for officials in Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, St. Louis County, Scott County and those serving on the Metropolitan Council.
All but two of the 22 positions will receive pay raises of at least 10 percent, and a handful will exceed 30 and even 40 percent. For instance, the Metro Transit General Manager’s salary will jump from $208,712 to $297,250, an increase of 42 percent.
The Metropolitan Council General Manager of Environmental Services will receive a new salary of $235,750, up from $171,330, while the Metropolitan Council’s Regional Administrator will see a bump from $171,330 to $246,000.
Rep. Marion O’Neill (R-Maple Lake) urged Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D-MN), who will take over for Dayton two days after the pay raises go into effect, to “put a pause on the current salary waiver process.”
“I’m troubled by the number of raises—including some exorbitant increases in the tens of thousands of dollars, and a Metro Transit employee who would be paid nearly $300,000—being pushed through the Dayton administration and Gov.-elect Walz’s new budget commissioner,” O’Neill told WCCO. “These employees already enjoy salaries that are several times higher than the median income for Minnesota families, and I intend to recommend to Commissioner Frans that they not approve these sky-high requests.”
Frans, however, said he was “surprised that people don’t respect the local decisions that are being made here,” according to MPR.
“These wages are reasonable, and make sense, and should be supported,” he added. “They are not outrageous.”
O’Neill sent a letter to Walz Thursday afternoon requesting that he reconsider, but Walz told reporters that he currently doesn’t have any intention of doing so.
As O’Neill indicated, Frans was selected by Walz this week to continue serving as budget commissioner.
“I am honored to serve and carry on fiscal stability so we have the resources needed to invest in healthcare and education for more Minnesotans,” Frans said after being reappointed.
– – –