Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Will Brodkorb and Minnesota Senate settlement agreement be public?

In the Star Tribune it was reported that Michael Brodkorb "will seek damages for wrongful dismissal." from the Minnesota Senate.  Both sides made their opinions known in the article.  Many media reports have hinted to avoid public embarrassment of the Minnesota Senate as an institution there could be a settlement before it may end up in Court.

To keep details of what led to Mr. Brodkorb's firing out of the public view they may agree to a settlement.  This happens all the time with other public employees with payments of thousands of dollars of public money.  But here with Mr Brodkorb it is quite a different situation.

Lets say the Minnesota Senate pays out more than $10,000 to settle and to have it quietly go away.  Will the public ever know the terms of the agreement that settled the dispute and will there be specific reasons for the agreement?  The answer more than likely will be no.

As I have stated before in previous posts the Minnesota Legislature is not under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. Therefore information that would be public with our state and local government in this kind of situation would not be public with the Minnesota Senate.

The following is the law that that applies to the executive branch and local government employees:


subdivision 2 (6)

 (6) the terms of any agreement settling any dispute arising out of an employment relationship, including a buyout agreement as defined in section 123B.143, subdivision 2, paragraph (a); except that the agreement must include specific reasons for the agreement if it involves the payment of more than $10,000 of public money;

There is no obligation by law for the Minnesota Senate to share any information with the public if there is a settlement with payment of public monies before a Court suit.  But the Minnesota Senate can and should follow the law as a standard in this case if the situation arises.

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