Governor called to explain severance payments

ST. PAUL, MN—State Representative Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, is calling on Governor Dayton to explain potentially unauthorized taxpayer-funded severance payments after a report emerged Tuesday that his administration awarded nearly $80,000 to state employees who voluntarily departed. The most generous severance agreement, awarded to a former Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, came on the heels of massive taxpayer-funded pay increases authorized by Governor Dayton. This commissioner was previously a top staffer on Dayton’s campaign for governor in 2010.

Compensation is governed by the Managerial Plan, which is ratified by the legislature, and generally does not allow for severance of this amount for commissioners who resign voluntarily.

“Once again, Governor Dayton is misusing taxpayer dollars to reward his political appointees,” said Rep. Backer. “These actions are simply unacceptable, especially at a time when Minnesotans just received word that their health insurance premiums were set to double. Minnesotans deserve better.”

Backer said House Republicans plan to introduce legislation next session aimed at explicitly prohibiting the Governor from awarding severance checks to political appointees who resign voluntarily to prevent any future waste of taxpayer dollars.