18 Minn. Lawmakers Got Shutdown Pay Retroactively

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)— Eighteen Minnesota House members who declined paychecks during last month’s state government shutdown got their full salaries retroactively, the House payroll office said Monday.

Eleven Democrats and seven Republicans received shutdown pay averaging $1,600 after the 20-day closure, which threw 22,000 state employees out of work, interrupted services ranging from camping in state parks to driver’s license exams and shut down road projects and some social services. State employees were eligible for unemployment at a fraction of their normal pay.

Lawmakers were entitled to salaries when government closed for much of July, but about a third of the Legislature’s 201 members told the payroll offices they didn’t want to be paid. The Legislature continued operating during the shutdown, even though the Capitol and State Office Building were closed to the public. Until Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton gave up his call for higher income taxes two weeks into the shutdown, leading to a deal with Republican legislative leaders, there was little activity on the legislative calendar. Lawmakers continued constituent work and some held public meetings in their districts.

After the shutdown ended, the 18 House members took the option of receiving back pay. Another 32 state representatives followed through on a shutdown pay cut averaging $1,600, representing the amount they would have earned during the shutdown. The remaining 84 House members were paid normally during the shutdown.

Fourteen senators who declined shutdown pay didn’t have the option of getting it retroactively.

“I worked the entire time. I actually worked overtime,” said Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, who said he deferred his paycheck until after the shutdown “out of respect for the process and others that were being laid off during that time.”

Drazkowski estimated that he put in 12- to 15-hour days during the shutdown, even though he didn’t serve on any of the working groups hammering out specific budget details after Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton reached a budget deal two weeks into the shutdown.

Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, was critical of Republican House leaders who took shutdown pay — before he got a full retroactive paycheck for July.

Winkler said Monday he missed a deadline for paperwork to follow through on the pay cut and would seek a 50 percent cut in his next House paycheck.

“It was an oversight that I didn’t follow up afterward,” Winkler said.

He added: “My plan was to basically treat myself the same way that state employees were treated. I should not have taken all of it.”

Others gave away at least some of their retroactive shutdown pay. A spokeswoman for House Democrats said several Democrats donated some or all to causes ranging from local schools to social services. A House GOP spokesman said several Republicans also reported donating some or all of the money. The House payroll office doesn’t track what members do with the paychecks once they get them.

State employees laid off during the shutdown weren’t eligible for back pay under agreements between their unions and the state government. Minnesota Management and Budget spokesman John Pollard said the budget enacted last month didn’t give state workers back pay, and any such move would require legislative approval.

Unemployment for laid-off state workers was 50 percent or less of their normal pay.

A spokeswoman for the second-largest state employee union, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, called the back pay “reprehensible.”

“They can’t work together to solve the problems facing Minnesota,” said MAPE spokeswoman Leslie Sandberg. “They shut down our government, they put 23,000 public employees — they laid them off and they’re not getting back pay. And yet in the summertime when no one’s looking they’re taking back pay.”

Eliot Seide, who heads the largest state employees union, said it was “hypocritical” for both Democrats and Republicans to take shutdown pay retroactively.

“I think on both sides of the aisle it’s a wrong thing to do,” said Seide, who heads the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5.


Below are the Minnesota House lawmakers who took shutdown pay retroactively and those who took a shutdown pay cut.

Took shutdown pay retroactively:
Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck
Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights
Rep. Roger Crawford, R-Mora
Rep. Denise Dittrich, DFL-Champlin
Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa
Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville
Rep. Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul
Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis
Rep. Carolyn Laine, DFL-Columbia Heights
Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie
Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter
Rep. Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis
Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester
Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover
Rep. Linda Slocum, DFL-Richfield
Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent


Took no pay for the 20 days of shutdown:
Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township
Rep. John Benson, DFL-Minnetonka
Rep. Kurt Bills, R-Rosemount
Rep. Kathy Byrnaert, DFL-Mankato
Rep. Lyn Carlson, DFL-Crystal
Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder
Rep. Connie Doepke, R-Orono
Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina
Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton
Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock
Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud *
Rep. David Hancock, R-Bemidji
Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park
Rep. Debra Kiel, R-Crookston
Rep. Kate Knuth, DFL-New Brighton
Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington
Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester *
Rep. Diane Loeffler, DFL-Minneapolis
Rep. Kathy Lohmer, R-Lake Elmo
Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul
Rep. Pat Mazorol, R-Bloomington
Rep. Carolyn McElfatrick, R-Deer River
Rep. Carol McFarlane, R-White Bear Lake
Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul
Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown
Rep. Richard Murray, R-Albert Lea
Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul
Rep. Bev Scalze, DFL-Little Canada
Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis
Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd
Rep. Doug Wardlow, R-Eagan

* Gottwalt and Liebling weren’t on the original list of House members declining shutdown pay, but the House payroll office said they will have future paychecks reduced a corresponding amount.


Taking 50 percent pay for the shutdown:
Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Damacles

    So, who were they?!?

    • Chris


      All of them should have taken the money and this is why:

      Now they have made it political and that is really wrong on top of everyhing else.

      They all are paid a salary, not hourly or per some performance standard.

      Regardless of how miserable the session went, they should get paid the typical monthly rate as usual.

      We are just lucky they do not get EXTRA pay for the extra time and punishment that they had to endure, regardless of their role (see not political above).

      Yes, we would all like them to bear some pain, but we cannot expect them to live or work by our perceived rules of fairness.


      • th

        If they can’t get the job done in the time they are supposed to they shouldn’t get a single cent more. Anyone else has to get their work done or suffer consequences.

      • dan

        What a moron!!

        They failed to do their job. I fail to do mine and there will be consequences

    • Reality sucks--more coming

      Took shutdown pay retroactively:
      Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck
      Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights
      Rep. Roger Crawford, R-Mora
      Rep. Denise Dittrich, DFL-Champlin
      Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa
      Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington
      Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville
      Rep. Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul
      Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis
      Rep. Carolyn Laine, DFL-Columbia Heights
      Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie
      Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter
      Rep. Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis

    • Tired of hypocritical leaders

      One politician I spoke with was Representative Peggy Scott, Anover, mn. Peggy Scott told me verbally that she would never take pay at the sacrifice of the public employees. Well, to my surprise she was one of those who took her pay retroactively. Did public employees have a choice ito take their pay retroactively? Absolutely not. Peggy scott has kids who attend Meadow Creek Christian school and it is clear to me that she isn’t living by her Christian beliefs where your word ought to be trusted. I urge everyone in her precinct to vote her out of office when she comes up for reelection. The state shut down because the legislators were not willing to work with Governor Dayton to get it done. Vote the hypocrites out!!

      • Hypocritical policians have to go.

        Why is there a separate payroll department for the legislators?? All pay should run through the same payroll deparment that is used to issue paychecks to Publc employees. they can’t track paychecks once they are issue? I got news for you: all payroll issued for public employees is public informaton and trackable. What a hypocritical system we have. Time to abolish the special privileges of these politicans.

  • anonymous

    Yes who were they. I would like to know who not to vote for in the future.

  • Mum

    Yep I wanna know who the Republicans were, they won’t get my vote next year. However, I have to color myself surprised that most were Democrats. Isn’t they mantra how greedy self-serving the Republicans are? Kind of a mixed message there. I would expect it to be the other way around if the claims were true. Go figure.

    • Harold Dong

      #1 why would you only want to know who the republicans were, and not all of them that requested…and No not really, I am not surprised that democrats would go for back pay from the state, that’s what they believe in, getting as much from government as possible…the republicans must be on the liberal edge to ask for these funds…since they were fighting to not have to raise taxes, etc.

  • jack

    story would be better with names

  • cassie

    of course they did

  • rach

    I was laid off for those 20 days, do i get to go back and get my pay??

  • Maddog

    Good to see that they got paid. These people work hard for us the tax payers. We don’t need to know thier names because it’s none of our business. It’s good to see that our tax money is not being wasted.

    • The Bishop

      You sir, are an idiot. They blew. They didn’t accomplish anything!
      Yes – let see the names of these cowards.
      They declined the pay when the spotlight was on them – now they want it.
      Unbelievable the gall of these people.

    • Senator Rich Donothing

      This it pretty clearly sarcasm, people, sarcasm.

    • Brian

      @maddog-are you for real? Work hard? They didn’t do their job. Why should they get paid? You must be living on the dole yourself. Only someone on the dole would make an argument to pay a person for doing nothing. idiot.

    • Judy

      Are you kidding me?! If I worked ‘as hard’ as they did this past year, it would have earned me a pass in the unemployment line, not a ‘go back and get your pay’ line!! After not completing their required work in the allotted time, they ought to have to pay the State of Minnesota back all their pay and perdiem for this year!! All of them, right from the top on down!

    • Tan pup

      You are kidding – I’m sure of that; no one would be that clueless to be supportive of these worthless legislators -especially the really obese ones. If your not kidding, you must be one of them!

    • th

      Maddog you are mad

    • dan

      Maddog you can’t possibly be serious??? If our reps did a good job we would have a balanced budget and no shut down would have taken place. Hold our Reps responsible

  • Common Man

    Except for the Dems… their view is that we work hard for them and for the government, not for ourselves. Right…?

    • LaQuiisha Jones Johnson

      As e new residant of minnesata (6month). im not happy they git payed for not working. they is suppose to work for the people. almost evryone i now got a late deposit on my debit card i am so glad that i dont pay taxxes that go to pay them. true sad storie

      • th

        Try checking your spelling. You can’t be taken serious if you can’t spell.

  • Red Herring here

    Who cares. Let’s all focus on the red herring instead of the real issues. Out of control spending, government innefectiveness, government growth and government isn’t an employment program. I don’t care tha rach was laid off for 20 days or that it may be all Dems or Repubs that accepted the pay. You sound like a bunch of 6 year olds on the playground. You all focus on the symptoms not the disease.

    • Give me liberty

      The disease is these type of politicians. Say one thing, do another.

      Initially they decline the pay so they can grandstand to their constituency, then after the fact go back and ask for the pay, pretty weak. I have a three step plan to address.

      1. Publish the names.
      2. Demand they donate the funds to charity of their choice.
      3. Vote them out….regardless of party.

      People need to be held accountable for their actions. There needs to be consequences for this type of behavior.

    • Tan pup

      You should care, it’s coming out of your pocket as much as the next person. This is a real issue – Yes, it is sixth grade behavior, but by the elected official (child) and as a taxpayer (parent of the elected officials) we have a right to expect good behavior and if not, we should have the ability to discipline them. In this case, they DO NOT deserve pay or any other benefit that they get! As far as the other state employees that were affected – I’m sorry you had 21 days off w/o pay, join the club and just shut up! At least you got your job back.Try getting laid off w/o any warning – you had plenty; then try to find a new job in your field. Can take up to 6 months to a year and if you are over 40 – good luck!

  • Bert

    How many state employees got to go back and use their accrued vacation time so they could get a paycheck?

    • Maddog

      None, state employees were not allowed to use vacation time to get paid.

      • Sue

        You Lie, they all got it!!

        • Kieron

          Sue you, Sue.

        • Mr. Tax Payer to you.

          No. Maddog is complete correct. Angry and Envy are two colors that do not look good on you.

        • CHESTER

          sue you are an a$$ we didn’t get to use our vacation time i had to borrow money just to make ends meet

        • Setting the record straight.

          No sue, you are wrong. State employees were not allowed to use their vacation leave accruel.

      • Snuffivan

        State employees get paid more than other people who do the same jobs. Plus they get 4 hours of sick and 4 hours vacation time every two weeks. State employees can cry at my feet for all i give. They have the best jobs in this state. Cry me a river.

      • Tan pup

        !Ok, now I’m totally convinced you are ONE of THEM! Just to let you know, our pitch forks stand ready and the torches are set to be lit!

  • Buddy1

    Get there pay and give them the boot and don’t come back is what should be done


    As a paying tax payer i have the right to find out who recieved any money (back pay) during the shut down list their names we voted these loosers in and we can give them a BIG boot out!!!!!!

    I am using my constitional right!!!!!

    • @madbrad

      What is a “constitional” right?

    • Reasonable

      Indeed you do have the right. The article mentions where the information was released, go get it.
      Self suffeciency is good right?

    • @madbrad

      What is a “looser”?

  • l

    why be bothered with another politician telling a lie, its done all the time

  • Sick of it ALL

    Names are at Star Trib website

  • Machismo

    THEY DO NOT DESERVE A DIME!!!! WE SHOULD VOTE THEM ALL OUT! Remember, that your Minnesota politicians are a privileged class that gets benefits that the normal class people do not get. They DID NOT WORK and should not get paid

  • Machismo

    We want to know who these sucker are! Please list them! :(

    • hacker

      startrib as ya told above- it’s all there ;-)

  • Ann

    The pssy’s at CCO won’t let me post them!

  • me

    ….List them out….

  • richard

    The 11 dems and 7 reps were who changed their minds and took their pay after they said they would not. I think they are hypocrites. I would also like to know who they are. Also how did they total out by party? Those in the end, who did, did not collect? Bet you it was pretty close (dems vs. reps).

  • Judy

    Go to the ST to get the names, theyre posted. I tried posting the names also and wasnt allowed.

    • jm

      They will be donating their pay to some non-profits of their choice. Isn’t that special!

  • Redneck Purist

    I think the dems should all be fined double the amount of their pay, and the republicans should all get double pay, plus combat pay just for having to be in the same room as the guy with the thousand yard stare. And the whole thing should come out of Dayton’s deep, silver spoon suckin’, limousine liberal pockets. He can transfer it from whatever bank in So. Dakota he has his money in (to avoid his own high taxes). I have spoken it, thus it is so.

    • Kieron

      Here’s your Valium, hon, you dropped it on your mad rush over here to post your thoughts.

      • Redneck Purist

        Thanks sugar lips, I was looking all over for those. I figured I’d left then next to my Quaaludes. Love ya later, luscious.

  • Righteous Man

    In the end we are all self-serving. This doesn’t surprise me…it shouldn’t for anyone, because in the end we’re all trying to better ourselves.

    Another point…some of us don’t do our jobs like we’re supposed to, but we still get paid, with someone else’s money.

    I’ve heard it said that when you point fingers, three are pointing right back at you.

  • Patriot

    Okay folks. Let’s calm down. These are hardworking, dedicated, and trusted Legislators that deserve our utmost respect. They work constantly 2 hours a day 2 days a week. Let’s back off before they go to 1 day a week!

  • Ralph Lattie

    I live in MN and work my rearend off. I wont stick around to the end.. They cant tell me to work and stay ambitious just to give… These non producers are failing to see that many are willing to leave or fight. ” Give to others and take take take from the sons and daughters of the people that developed this state. Nothing left to give because youve taken it all is not so far away.

  • O

    Throw the bums out!!!!!!!

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