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Counties hire lobbyist to push back against unelected Met Council

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Is the Metropolitan Council dishing out transportation dollars in appropriate fashion? Or could the group be violating federal rules?

Officials with four different suburban counties say the Met Council's way of doing business doesn't fall within federal guidelines – so they hired a lobbyist to make that case to federal officials, the Chanhassen Villager reported, hoping to disrupt the Met Council's process.

And Gov. Mark Dayton isn't too happy about it, KSTP reports.

So what exactly is the problem?

The Met Council is made up of 17 members, none of whom are elected – they're all appointed by the governor. The councilors represent different districts, which cover the state’s seven metro counties: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington.

One of the things they're in charge of is choosing where hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation and project funding should go.

The lobbyist – hired by Anoka, Carver, Dakota and Scott county commissioners – will argue that a relatively new federal rule requires decisions about regional funding be made with input from elected officials, the Star Tribune reports.

And of course, since the Met Council is all appointed, their input isn't that of an elected official.

The Chanhassen Villager reported in February that the lobbyist hire had been approved by the counties.

On Tuesday, Dayton spoke about the counties' lobbyist hire, saying it was "outrageous and really irresponsible" that they went to Washington D.C. to "trash" the Met Council, KSTP reports.

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