Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Following the Shutdown Money

There's been hullabaloo at the Minnesota State Capitol since news reports appearing about legislators getting retroactive pay.  The Associated  Press and Star Tribune led with the stories which have gone state and nation wide.

There needs to be transparency and openness as to how the Minnesota House of Representatives in general pays its members. How does the House Administration handle requests of "I do not want to be paid?"  There needs to be clarification how the process works.

A number of House members publicly stated no paycheck for them during shutdown.  The public's view and the member's constituents, this meant not paid later, no deferment, it meant no paycheck, period.  House members may have announced before or after the stories hit yesterday that they are going to donate the check to charities, take half-pay, or whatever, but the perception of taking pay after one stated no pay raises questions which are legitimate.

The House legislators whose names appeared on the "list" and who have been confronted by media and constituents have to give kudos for dealing with the questions rather than hide.  I know a number of these Representatives.  They are hard working and good people.

A lesson can be learned though.  There needs to be rules, policies, and procedures laid out as to how information about expenses and salaries of the Legislature, both House and Senate, can be easily accessible by the public.  Currently, that is not the case.

Finally, I am aware the House suspended per diem of their $66 per day during the shutdown.  Did the Senate do theirs? 

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