Big raise for Met leader despite salaries deal

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

ST. PAUL — Even after lawmakers stopped hefty raises for members of Gov. Mark Dayton’s cabinet, the chairman of the Metropolitan Council’s salary still doubled to nearly $123,000, according to state salary documents obtained by the Associated Press.

New chairman Adam Duininck is making twice as much as previous leaders at the Metropolitan Council as the position moves to a full-time role. Dayton’s administration argues he’s on firm legal ground to unilaterally pay Duininck more with the switch to full time, which they say is necessary given the Met Council’s increasing workload.

But Republicans say the governor reneged on a deal that reversed those salary increases earlier this year. Duininck’s five-figure raise could open a second act in the debate over commissioner pay that consumed the Legislature for weeks and it may give the GOP extra fodder to take on the regional planning agency.

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“We were going to wind back the clock and say ‘You are going to have to go back to what it was in 2014,’” said Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth. “He has gone beyond the intent of what it was.”

In January, Dayton gave double-digit percentage raises, including some topping $30,000, to his commissioners, triggering a blowup that strained relations between the Democratic governor and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk after Bakk moved to freeze the increases.