Dayton calls double-digit pay raises for officials 'essential' to keep top talent

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Some of the state's officials, commissioners and agency heads are getting a double-digit pay bump.

The Minnesota Legislature was notified of the raises in a Feb. 4 letter from Minnesota's Management and Budget Commissioner. WCCO reports the decision was made by Gov. Mark Dayton, who told the station it was "essential" if the state wanted to attract and hold on to the best possible people.

MPR News notes the pay hikes total $802,990.

Twenty-six commissioners and agency heads received raises, and the increases range from 19-58 percent. The smallest raise is $22,407, granted to the Ombudsman for Mental Health; the salary for that position goes from $97,510 to $119,997.

You can look up the past salary data of all state employees by going to the TransparencyMN website. You can see a full list of the raises for 2015 here.

Adam Duininck, the newly-appointed chair of the Metropolitan Council got an $84,000 raise: the position changed from a part-time job at $61,414 to full time at $144,991.

Dayton, a second-term DFL governor, is getting pushback from Republicans.

“At a time when take-home pay for families remains flat and some Minnesotans are still struggling to make ends meet, it’s outrageous that the governor would approve enormous salary increases for commissioners and political appointees already making six-figure salaries," Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, said in a statement.

Dayton says state lawmakers, who haven’t had a raise since 1998, also need a pay hike.

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