With no more elections to worry about, Gov. Dayton decided to hand out five-figure raises to each of the 26 state commissioners and agency heads last month.
The pay increases total more than $800,000 for a group of public servants who were already all making more than $88,000 annually. The sole exception was the Met Council Chair, who made $58,000, but Dayton shifted that job to full-time and increased the salary to $145,000.
The governor stood by his decision late yesterday afternoon, telling WCCO's Pat Kessler the raises were necessary to keep attracting top talent to work in government.
It also doesn't hurt that the governor isn't running for reelection, so there's no threat of getting hammered by campaign ads in a few years.
Republicans, of course, are furious. State Rep. Roz Peterson issued a press release when she heard the news, calling the raises "outrageous" and "wasteful."
The pay hikes were made possible in 2013 when the DFL supermajority passed a law raising the state cap on commissioner salaries.
More of Dayton explaining himself to Kessler:
Dayton said commissioner salaries have not been raised in ten years because of budget and political difficulties.
He says state lawmakers, who haven't had a raise since 1998, also need a pay hike.
And because he's not running for re-election, Dayton said he's not concerned about the political consequences.
"We're not going to do this every year," he said. "I dont think we need to do this again for another decade, or longer. To delay that process so I can cover my political behind is not my idea of responsibility in leadership."
Here's a full list of the raises, courtesy of the Minnesota House Republicans. Press the fullscreen icon on the bottom right for a better look.