ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Kent Mechels spent the last three Christmases away from his family plowing snow off Minnesota roads so people could drive safely. It was a hardship he accepted as part of the job, he said.

But Mechels’ latest sacrifice — getting laid off during a state government shutdown now entering its second week — has him thinking about quitting.

“I’m looking at other state agencies in different states right now. I’ve lived in Minnesota my entire life. I may be leaving,” said Mechels, a single father from Rochester. “When the state government treats their employees like this, I don’t need to be part of it.”

Many of the 22,000 public employees out of work in Minnesota’s budget impasse say they will get through the extended layoff by tapping into personal savings, relying on a spouse’s income or unemployment checks, and making household spending cuts. But others are looking for new jobs, creating the potential for a brain drain that would be one more negative from the nation’s longest state government shutdown in a decade.

Erik Pakieser, an emergency planner for the state transportation department, took to Twitter soon after the shutdown to shop his services for what he hopes could be a better-paying job in the private sector. The state stands to lose an employee it spent a lot of money training, the St. Anthony Village man said.

“If I get a better job, great. If I don’t, I’m going to get my state job back eventually,” he said. “Who knows? Maybe there’s a silver lining in all this.”

Isaias Petros, of Minneapolis, works in land management with the Department of Transportation and said he doesn’t have much money saved to get through the shutdown. Though he is single with no children, Petros said he needs at least a temporary job to pay back some student loans.

“I was not ready for this,” he said, adding that he was actively looking for “anything” that could help him support himself.

Not everyone is job hunting.

Brent Anderson, who manages Whitewater State Park in southeastern Minnesota, has a wife who works and said he simply plans to cut back on expenses. Anderson is spending more time volunteering at the Goodview Fire Department, catching up on paperwork and thinking about painting his house trim.

One of the biggest shutdown casualties in Anderson’s family is his teenage daughter. She was scheduled to take her driver’s license test last Tuesday and was excited about getting behind the wheel. Now she’ll have to wait because the state is not offering driving tests during the shutdown.

“It’s a little disappointment for a 16-year-old,” Anderson said.

Jim Ullmer, of Crystal, a commercial vehicle inspector for the Department of Public Safety, has been babysitting his 18-month-old granddaughter, who he took to an anti-shutdown union rally at the Capitol last week.

“We’ve cut back and skipped a lot of things just in preparation,” Ullmer said. “Right now I’m just babysitting little Anna. … She’s a full-time job and I love doing it, but I’d much rather be out doing my job.”

Ullmer also has been spending time on the phone. He’s the chief steward statewide for members in his agency who belong to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He tells members curious about how long the shutdown will last to call their legislators.

“Ask them. They’re the ones who are keeping us out here,” Ullmer said.

The workers’ money woes contrast sharply with the position of state lawmakers, who are still eligible for their salaries during the shutdown — although some have chosen not to take them. And while their unions are a traditional power base for Democrats and support for Dayton remains strong, it’s not universal.

Brian Lindholt, of Minneapolis, says Republicans could end the shutdown simply by meeting the Democratic governor halfway.

“This is real. This is not a joke,” said Lindholt, a father of three who works for the Department of Transportation. “This is real life and we’re without a job right now because … they are holding the majority as legislators so they think they can strong-arm the governor.”

But Pakieser, who belongs to the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, criticized the unions for their close alliance with the governor.

“I feel like Dayton has gone out of the way to mislead people about his compromise attitude,” Pakieser said. He said a video is circulating on YouTube of Dayton imploring lawmakers in February to join him in pledging not to shut down the government, yet Dayton vetoed all major state agency funding bills Republicans passed at the end of the session.

“It just looks to me like he wanted to force a shutdown. … He chose to spread maximum pain throughout the state government,” Pakieser said.

Some, like Mechels, say both parties deserve blame.

“They’re hired to do a job,” Mechels said. “They’re not doing their job, and they’re using us for pawns.”

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

Comments (148)
  1. Frank says:

    Pakeeser is an idiot for saying what he did.. What does he gain from his statements. The others must be assured that there is no one in the enforcement division for when they check yes they looked for work on their unemployment

    1. nica says:

      I wholeheartedly agree!

  2. Gov. Mark says:

    his remarks are marinating in self pity.

  3. Vote for Emmer says:

    Well, you get what you voted for!

  4. Norge says:

    Good-Bye..if you need dierctions google them, tired of paying you union-goons twice what you deserve anyway, get outta here, you will NOT be missed. The lame-stream ‘Cco daily puff-piece for the left-wing union-goon-driven political action committees. TANSTAAFL!! Keep it shut-down till Daytons and the DFL/socialist/welfare-state public-trough-feeders brain-cells start working again! Spend a couple of Christmases in a foxhole with people shooting at you, for 10% of what you are making now, before you try to play the “pity-pot” card!! What a bunch of foolishness and waste of resources putting out this rubbish!

    1. Randy says:

      Hey Norge! I served my country by giving over four years of my life to the United States Navy. I worked hard to get where I’m at, and I am proud to be able serve the citizens of the state of Minnesota. If you’re jealous for what we are getting paid, then shut your mouth and apply for a job. Ifffff you’re good enough, you might be able to get one of these good jobs. 🙂

    2. Michele says:

      So, Norge, you volunteering to get up out of your bed and shovel snow come November?

      1. Jake says:

        Actually, I had to use my snowblower just to get out of my neighborhood at least a couple of times last winter, because the SNOWPLOWS hadn’t plowed my local streets fast enough. Should I have sent a bill to my city??

        1. Eat it Kitty says:

          Those are CITY plows, not the State nor Mn/DOT. I bet you advocate for less taxes and then I see you wine like crazy when it takes more time to plow the roads, the police to show up or the fire department to answer the fire calls. Perhaps the two are related…

          1. Jake says:

            Ah, that’s true, but when I hit the STATE HIGHWAYS, they aren’t always plowed very well either, I’m only able to drive on them because the snow is packed down well enough for me to troge along at 30 mph. The fire dept has NEVER been to my house in the 20+ years I’ve lived here, so I expect them to show up PRONTO if I should EVER NEED THEM. The police will get here just fine if they have a good enough reason to show up. I know from experience.

            1. paul says:

              yes send you bill to the city and see what happens I’ll bet money that your city won’t pay you !

          2. Jake says:

            Funny, how you couldn’t even answer the QUESTION that I presented. Typical gov’t employee response. Blame somebody else.

            1. Jake says:

              Incidentally, I pay CITY TAXES AS WELL, and they haven’t been going down, they have been going UP.

            2. frozenrunner says:

              Putting people in a box as you did “typical government employee” is very small minded of you. I really think you should bring every armament you own, or anyone else you know, to the next city council meeting and demand the city pay you $100/hr for services rendered. Being that the police have been to your house I kind of figure that you might have to use other people’s wapons.
              Blaming other? Your name has been on this board enough to have read the right blames the left and the left blames the right.

    3. Stien says:


      Can you point me to one of these State jobs that pay twice as much? I need to get me one of these! Bent over LMAO!

  5. Bobby redbone says:

    What a bunch of slugs ! Keep it shut down , these slugs have had it to good for to long ! I work with mn dot . When we do the same task with private contractors we have a pre job meeting with about 3 people . When it’s mn dot about 15-17 all paid for by us the tax payers!

  6. Nols says:

    Hey Norge why don’t you try teaching the kids or fixing the roads….Police corrections….lace up your boots. Military or not….are these people not worthy of a decent wage? They don’t make 100k a year like the dems and repubs do they? All make half of that or less buddy. Next time know what your talking about before you spew at the mouth. Its not about Unions right now. They are taking food off the table of Minnesotans period…

    1. Jake says:

      Do you mean like the bus drivers in Madison, WI, who made over $150K in 2009?? Piling on the OT when they could have hired another driver at STARTING WAGE, instead of paying a senior union member DOUBLE TIME at the HIGHEST WAGE??
      Is that what you mean?? It’s all over the internet. LOOK IT UP.

      1. frozenrunner says:

        Didn’t have to wait long to see you do the blame thing. You blame the union workers for going to work and working all they can. Perhaps when you actually read the story much of the time is due to a city hiring freeze. Again you blame the worker for taking advantage of the situation.

      2. Nica says:

        Who is talking about WI? This is a Minnesota state shut down. Hopefully you know that!

      3. Stien says:

        We ain’t in Wisconsin son!

  7. Ali says:

    What a BIG joke. In a few years Public employees will go on strike to demand yet better wages and pensions then the private sector. Then a government shut down will be “Oh such a great thing…” we see through you phoney people and know that you are just a bunch of ” I , me. my. what more do I get
    clowns”. We need to stop all life time Public Union pensions NOW!!! You that have them keep them but NO NEW ONES!!! We need a real man like walker to get this done.

    1. Stien says:


      No actually the will have their wages frozen for thre more years like it has been for the past 4.

  8. Larry says:

    Yep they are already planning a strike with the slogan…”remember the last government shutdown, give us wat we want….”

  9. P SMITH says:

    tipical republican responses they know how to can people names ! I don’t here any constructive ideas on how to end this travisty of justice . To the republicans if you can’t say anything nice then SHUTUP until you have a idea on how to end the shutdown caused by your republican legislators ! I’m a very proud Minnesota employee and norge I know you cannot do my job so I’m well worth what I make because I put my life on the line everyday in my job !

    1. Rico Suave says:

      Well spoken, my brave, brave public employee. Let me guess, you’re also a product of our wonderful public schools as well. Actually if you put your life on the line as a public employee, that worries me a great deal. These days if the word public is in it, it’s a safe bet that you should not expect quality.

      1. P SMITH says:

        Rico why don’t you just go back to where you came from it is apparent that you are NOT A MINNESOTAN !!!!!!!

    2. Jake says:

      I have a solution. Tell the governor to sign the BUDGET. If it doesn’t work out like you would like, you can put in a dfl led majority in the Legislature in 2012, then jack up the taxes through the roof, then watch as company after company leaves the state, putting even more people on unemployment and bringing in less revenue to the state. Gee, we will look just like Mexico in NO TIME. Having this ‘quality of life’ means NOTHING if you don’t have a paycheck coming in.

      1. Michele says:

        Yes, company after company will leave and move someplace more profitable, like Arkansas. The CEO’s will move their families there, put their kids into school there, drive the unplowed roads there. And they will court people out of college to move there. Cause there’s … what?

        I’m getting sick of this lame blackmail.

        1. Jake says:

          They may move to Arkansas, or Mississippi, or S. Dakota, but you can be sure that there kids will probably go to a private school and an out of state, prestigious college. Unplowed roads? They don’t get that much snow, not much need for snowplow drivers down there. Haven’t you heard about all the global warming going on?

        2. Rico Suave says:

          Or maybe they’ll move to Maryland where they just decreed that kids have to be studied up on environmentalism to graduate. That’d be sooo cool. The only 2 words your kids could spell would be Global and Warming but wow, look at that great, liberal quality of life. I feel sorry for your kids and you if you’re in Minnesota for the public schools. Have you seen some of the posts of these MN educated public employees? I keep hearing liberals crow about the MN quality of life who apparently think that spending more equals higher quality. Dupes all!

          1. P SMITH says:

            the public school system is good in Minnesota ……………………..were did you go to school Rico suave ?

        3. Katie says:

          The best companies don’t go to locations because of taxes, they go to locations because of where they can get the best employees – unless their jobs can be done by any interchangable cog. San Francisco and NYC are not low tax places, yet many, many companies locate there. Same for all the big cities.

          Why do they go there? Because of the employee talent and because of the prestige of being in those locations. Same for Minneapolis – it’s one of the magnets for the best young professionals in the Midwest because it has good schools, good quality of life and a lot of cultural events. Young professionals today choose where to live based on the life they want instead of where they’re offered a job, and Minnesota wins over Arkansas hands down in that aspect.

          Saying high taxes = companies leaving oversimplifies the issue and assumes that low taxes are a higher priority to companies than access to the best employees.

          Michele is right for calling this lame blackmail. Let’s look at what really keeps companies around before we start pointing fingers at taxes. (With all the tax breaks big companies get, they barely pay taxes anyways.)

      2. CHESTER says:

        better yet why don’t you Jake,rico and all the rebublican lovers all go to Mexico

    3. Richard Korte says:

      What is your judge sir? Public toilet scrubber Can’t imagine its anything to special. Because someone with a position of pristiage would have a little more class and not pressume that someone they have never met could infact do there job better. Quite simply put, dont worry your food stamps will be here on time

    4. Proud of GOP says:

      Governor DAYTON caused the shutdown by vetoing the GOP passed balance budget that raised spending only modestly. Dayton violated his campaign pledge not to shut down state government for a tax increase.

  10. ed says:

    “. . . But Mechels’ latest sacrifice — getting laid off during a state government shutdown . . . ”

    What an amazing sacrifice.

  11. P smith idiot says:

    P smith , you are a loser , u don’t put your life on the line ! Please quit now andove to another state loser! U r a slug !

    1. P SMITH says:

      P smith idiot you don’t know me at all you are a ja__a__ and a Slug unless you know what I do don’t make any stupid ass comments …………………why don’t you dry up and blow away

  12. Al says:

    While I sympathize with the workers there are ten of thousands of Minnesotans in the private sector that have been out of work for far longer than a week to say the least. Many of these are in the building industry that was most deeply affected by political decisions allowing mortgages to be handed out as quickly as welfare checks. Now the public employees feel a little pain and everything is a crisis. I am disgusted with the fact they do not understand that you cannot sustain and economy that makes nothing. As soon as this country went over the 50% threshold of service jobs instead of manufacturing we were on the decline.

    1. Waste says:

      Thank you for that post.
      The housing stimulus hid the fact that unemployment was on the rise in the Bush years.
      Now the dems want to spend even more, just because their predecessors did.
      When will we wake up, spend within our means and reward hard work again?
      If all of you state employees are hard workers, why aren’t you calling Dayton and telling him to sign the lights on bill?
      How a state worker can put a post on here without mentioning Dayton declining a lights on bill boggles my mind?

      1. Richard Korte says:

        it is truelly amazing that no pro dayton supporter has not even made mention to that. He wants another 1.5 billion and some change for extra revenue, but not a lights on bill while they decide where to come up with that money. interestingly irony

      2. Mike says:

        Why don’t you wake up. The greatest prosperity this country has ever seen was we taxed and spent which created jobs, highways, construction, research, etc. The wealthy were paying far far higher tax rates than they are now (anywhere from 50-90%) under both Democratic and Republican administrations. And guess what, this country flourished. Then the rich got greedy. Corporations didn’t want to pay taxes, the wealthy needed lower taxes, the population kept growing and the gap between rich and poor kept growing larger. Greed kills and will be the end of our economy. Wake up and smell the coffee…republicans only want one thing….your money at your expense!

      3. mike says:

        Why don’t you wake up. The greatest prosperity this country has ever seen was we taxed and spent which created jobs, highways, construction, research, etc. The wealthy were paying far far higher tax rates than they are now (anywhere from 50-90%) under both Democratic and Republican administrations. And guess what, this country flourished. Then the rich got greedy. Corporations didn’t want to pay taxes, the wealthy needed lower taxes, the population kept growing and the gap between rich and poor kept growing larger. Greed kills and will be the end of our economy. Wake up and smell the coffee…republicans only want one thing….your money at your expense! They get richer, the rest of us get poorer, and the country and economy suffer.

        1. Jake says:

          Then thank Bill Clinton, who signed NAFTA, GATT, Free Trade with China, the 1996 Telecom Act, gave away all kinds of government secrets to the Chinese, especially in defense and space, and now, he’s worth at least $200 Million. All of these changes didnt’ happen overnight, he know he would be out of office and could blame is successors for the unreversible DAMAGE that he did to America.

    2. Sean says:

      @ Al The Bush job growth plan was that we send manufacturing jobs overseas and make money of managing them.

    3. Citizen says:

      @Al. Actually, the banks are the ones who handed out mortgages like candy to people who came looking for a mortgage WHO SHOULD NEVER HAVE QUALIFIED. There were many instances of banks falsifying incomes so people could qualify when they otherwise could not. The feds simply wanted to stimulate home buying. No one asked the banks to commit fraud. I don’t know about most people, but I expect my banker to be honest and tell me if I can afford something or what the actual cost will be to me after checking my credit and finances. Banks DID NOT DO THE PROFESSIONAL JOB expected of them which caused the housing market meltdown. You need to read a little deeper than the propaganda. Of course, then the government bailed out the banks–should have nationalized them instead. Derivatives are still being used–twice as much lately. The banks are still going down a dangerous & slippery road…

  13. DBB says:

    Why is it everyone thinks MN/DOT employees are overpaid? What is a fair wage for working on an interstate with trucks flying by at 70+ mph just feet from you. Would you do it for $21/hr? Average AFSCME salary is less than 40K.

    1. BeenThereDoneThat says:

      I would love to make 40K ..and I have a degree. No pity here.

      1. Les Johnson says:

        If you don’t, it’s probably your own fault.

        You make less than $20 bucks an hour and you have a college degree? Talk about “no pity here.”

  14. Kevin says:

    Who cares? We have all gotten kicked by the economy! Its about time State workers get cut back!!!

    1. Barney says:

      You realize that you beloved GOP Gov TPaw oversaw these employees for the last 8 years, right?

      How many did he “cut back”?

      Yeah, that’s right – some, but not as many as he wanted to. Why? Because as long as there are laws to be enforced, overseen, programs to regulatre, administer, then there needs to be employees.

      You can only cut so many without changing things drastically.

      Until we stop funding and overseeing every help organization for everyone who has a disability, needs money, needs food, needs education, needs 24-hr medical care, then there will be employees needed to do/oversee these laws and programs.

      So, which ones would you cut? Hospice care regulation? Autism centers? Job banks/ training prgrams? Bank regulations? Environmental regulations (feel free to dump toxic waste anywhere, 3M).

      You pick it – copntact your legislators and tell them to cut it.

      That is how you pare down employee rolls!

      1. Recall says:

        Whoa there Barney. Whoa, whoa, whoa. What you listed is all well and good. But “cut”—is a bit drastic of a strategy. Why not scrutinize, reduce, or investigate out the fraud?

      2. Jake says:

        Barney Fife,
        I recently read a report that said that 37% of our entire state’s budget went into some kind of WELFARE PROGRAM, the highest percentage of a state’s overall budget in the NATION. Don’t you think that there is some kind of PROBLEM with THAT? I certainly do. Yet, dayton is holding out for ANOTHER BILLION DOLLARS over what the legislature has proposed, and the legislature has granted at least a billion dollars more in THIS budget than the LAST budget allocated. Clearly, there is something wrong here, wouldn’t you like to know about it? I sure would. It’s time to take a CHAINSAW to the WELFARE BUDGET, and I’m not talking about throwing granny under the bus. I’m talking about telling the FREELOADERS to move to another state, and cutting state and county staff who administer these fraudulent programs, before they break our financial back.

        1. Recall says:

          Now that’s what I’m talkin about.

          1. Jake says:

            Effin A. It’s nothing but a Ponzi scheme, makes Bernie Madoff look like a Boy Scout.

            1. Recall says:

              What’s worse, these people get their welfare–and have 5 years to get kicked off it and work! You or I wouldnt take 5 days to get a damn job. Welfare to work my a@!

              1. Jocleyn says:

                Not everyone has the brains like you do. 🙂 Many people may be more unfortunate than you; jobwise, healthwise, that may prevent them from getting a job within 5 days. I just dislike the lazy ones who are on welfare and don’t want to put effort in finding work, but for those , who are in truly needs of financial help, I don’t mind paying taxes for that. Help one another in need is what every community needs to do, seems so, every comment I read in this article has to do with greed. Pretty sad.

                1. Recall says:

                  100% agree. I would never throw the legitimate into my statements.

                2. Jake says:

                  I’ve seen two of my siblings lose their jobs over the past year. They are good, law-abiding, DRUG FREE citizens. Guess what — they BOTH found jobs within 6 months, and at least one is getting paid MORE than he/she did in their previous job.
                  So, good, hard work pays off — eventually, somebody will recognize them for what they are capable of, and pay them accordingly. Who would have thought???

                3. Jocleyn says:

                  Jake, that’s very great for your siblings. But, I am speaking about those who don’t speak English as a primary language. 🙂 Or, those who have no resources or don’t know about resource agents and etc. You can say tough luck for them, in other words, but, you can’t really be the one to say, if you have never been in their shoes. You’re complaining about welfare/public workers/etc, when you have never had to worry about what to do if it’s been months or years without a job, after interviews after interviews. Believe it or not, there are people who have gone through this kind of situation. And, are still trying to find jobs out there, and ARE DRUG-FREE, FYI!! Good people, who just happened to not be able to care for themselves in this ever-so changing economy. And, NOT everyone has the same values as you, so, it could explain why many people set off foot on a bad path to begin with. Don’t be too quick to judge; statistics are just numbers, start looking at the bigger picture, it ain’t just the liberals, or Dems who are causing havoc to this economy, it’s also the reps. Both sides are accounted for what has happened. One side wants to spend more, whereas, the other side, too greedy with what they have. The rich may feel that they worked hard to get to where they are, which, they did, but I’ve seen many whom lie and cheat to steal from many people, too. Gotta meet halfway to make things work.

            2. Nica says:

              Jake, I have seen two friends and a relative lose jobs over the past two years. All three of them are hardworking, drug free, decent, law abiding citizens. One is still looking for work after 10 months, one was looking for a year and one has been out of work for 3 months. None of them have needed welfare because they qualified for unemployment but if they had needed it, it should be there for them.
              Please report all people you have evidence of who are cheating the welfare system. No one wants people receiving aid who don’t deserve it. And since you personally know so many people on welfare – I suggest you change the type of people you hang with. Or, are you just spouting your mouth off about something you have no direct knowledge of???

        2. mj says:

          I agree Jake. I think the welfare budget for one year is 11 Billion.

          1. Jake says:

            Yeah, that’s like $5,000 for EVERY man, woman, and child in Minnesota, and that doesn’t even count what you pay in property taxes, or other local taxes, which adds probably another 50% to that total. Think about it. Then try to make the arguement to me that taxPAYERS (whether rich or middle class) aren’t paying enough. So tell me, MN taxpayers, are you getting what you are paying for?

        3. Jocleyn says:

          There’s something wrong with the increased rate in welfare, but I am pretty sure, the majority who are on welfare certainly relates to the increased rate on unemployment rates, too. Think about it.

          1. Jake says:

            I was not born yesterday, and if you NEED me to quote all kinds of statistics to prove my point, then you are LLOST already. Welfare fraud is all over the place, and it is underreported. Those who do get caught don’t pay nearly the type of penalty that they should. The whole system is a joke, and you won’t find a single gov’t employee who will condemn it, because their job depends on it.

            1. Jocleyn says:

              What do you do as a living, if you don’t mind me asking? I am pretty sure there are flaws in the system, but, who says any one program or system is perfect? That’s not new news, is it? Nothing is perfect. Either way, there are ALWAYS pros and cons to any kind of situation/program/etc. I made my point in the other comment about statistics. 🙂 Numbers that can also be incorrect, Jake, due to fraud and inaccuracy. You just contradicted your point.

            2. mj says:

              You nailed it again Jake. Their job depends on growing the welfare rolls.

            3. Really? says:

              Right on the money Jake. There’s a reason MN has the largest Somali community and has gang bangers from Chicago killed in north Mpls. every day. The welfare system here in MN is what entices them and I’ve heard that straight from the horse’s mouth. I would cut welfare totally. We SSI for disabled.

          2. mj says:

            Welfare slug from other states are moving here for the benefits. I attended a neighborhood meeting when a new homeless shelter was being built. The shelter manager told us taxpayers that 40% are from out of state. You must be young cause I lived in apts full of welfare moms in the 70’s. They were given vouchers to pick out new furniture, etc.

            1. Jocelyn says:

              MJ; I’m young? Younger than you, possibly. But, I am basing my views from experience. And, no, I am not on welfare if you wonder. WERE ON it before; know what it’s like. Had I come from a smart (and by smart, it could be any smart/intelligence; streetsmart, academically smart, etc) and wealthy family, I think I may see and maybe, understand a tad bit of your views. I wouldn’t need to start where I started from, rock bottom.

              For those who mentioned about the race/ethnicity that were surveyed as the highest consumers for welfare, If viewing on the Somalians as if they’re bad influence, then, imagine any one American moving outside of the U.S. to Africa and with of no help or few help, I’m pretty sure most of some Americans (wealthy ones stripped of money and no income, to start from nothing) may want to apply for some resource for help to survive if Africa had such a program like ours, welfare system. Reason to relocate would be, say, if U.S. were a 3rd world country and Africa had upgraded and have a better system. About the gangs and what not? Murders/Stealing/etc are terrible habits, that none should practice, yet, some choose to do it anyway. That’s their wrongdoings and lost on their end.

        4. frozenrunner says:

          Is there some reason why you could not read for yourself on the budget. If you call all of the health and human services department welfare then yes it is 37%. Did you bother to look up what percent goes to the freeloaders and compare it to others? MFIP (welfare) goes to approximately 3600 families statewide and makes up 0.05% of the state budget.

    2. Stien says:

      You are right Kevin! Get those tax paying citiizens on unemployment and keep the tax revenue down. And with less money for these folks, less money being spent in the almighty private sector. Someone how I miss your logic!

  15. Jake says:

    Mr. Mechels, thank you for your service, plowing roads on Christmas Day, along with many others that you might have had better plans for. That being said, I wish to inform the rest of the citizenry, that at least SOME of us in the private sector, who are union as well, work on HOLIDAYS, WEEKENDS, NIGHTS, EVENINGS, virtually anytime, day or night, when called upon, and sometimes have to drive on UNPLOWED roads and highways during the winter, and we don’t drive 4WD vehicles either. We are as necessary as snowplow drivers, law enforcement, air traffic controllers, and others who help ensure the public’s safety and ability to function above a third world level. When we get laid off, when our pay gets frozen, or when our benefits get cut, we don’t get anywhere NEAR the amount of media attention that a monopolistic entities like union government workers get, who are put on such a pedestal. The lack of balance and perspective is astounding. Yes, I have heard that some gov’t workers have started to lose their jobs over the past year, but I can assure you that the private sector has been shedding good paying jobs, and a lot of union jobs, for over 5 years now. Too bad that ‘cco hasn’t discovered that phenomenon, with all of the ‘tweeters’ and facebook people out there.

  16. DBB says:

    Hey Kevin I respect your comments but why hammer the state workers? I agree that one of our many problems is funding pensions. I am young enough that I don’t expect a pension because I don’t see any way states can continue funding them. Before we hammer state workers lets address the bigger problems like WELFARE and Government WASTE!

    1. Kevin says:

      State Union workers and welfare and waste are one and the same DBB…..and I repsect your views also…thank you…

      1. DBB says:

        Man you really don’t like those state workers! Unfortunately, your views are shared by many. It is a common stereotype that all state workers are pieces of s**t. I will be the first to admit that those types are out there and the union seems to protect them. I care very much for the quantity and quality of my work. I don’t know where you live,but where I live and work, workers like me far out number the ones that you hate.

  17. Richard Korte says:

    Hey DBB, you want to bring up the subject of welfare. I dont care how racist this will more then likely sound, how do you feel knowing you wont see any form of a pension but Somalian family can bring there 7+ children over to Minnesota and not be registered U.S citisens and receive 2000+ monthly in welfare benefits. Dont take my word for it you can google the monthly benefit amounts for Minnesota MFIP, you will truelly be amazed

    1. DBB says:

      There is a reason we have the largest Somalia population in the country!

  18. Carmen says:

    Good luck finding a job outside of Minnesota. Hint, we have one of the lowest unemployment rates. Only ten states have lower unemployment and I doubt that many people would want to move to Hawaii (very high cost of living), New Hampshire or Vermont. Then there are the Dakotas.

  19. Union goon Tom says:

    Funny we have not heard from Tom Dooher lately.

  20. Me says:

    GOP is nothing but ALEC puppets.

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  21. G says:

    Keep everything shut down and privatize all state jobs. State employees get paid twice what they are worth. You’re ALL living off of Our dime, leaving us only a penny to ourselves. Maybe you can get a job in the private sector holding a traffic sign for $12 an hour instead of the State pair $28 an hour…

    1. KGDD says:

      State workers do not hold traffic signs, private contractors do and they are paid about $20 per hour. The state workers make sure the contractors do the job according to the law and to the agreed upon contract.

    2. Stien says:

      Great idea G!

      I’m sure State workers won’t mind either, they would simply get paid more to do the same thing! Perect!

    3. we says:

      You are all puppets.

  22. George Washington says:

    These state workers should have been speaking up when all the rest of our jobs were being outsourced. They took their boats and went fishing, having long conversation about how wonderful globalization is.

    Suddenly, we’re supposed to get all teary-eyed for them when they had no outrage when our jobs were disappearing, same thing with the teachers. They say “It’s an attack on the middle class”. It’s been an attack on the middle class for a decade, it’s just your turn, that’s why you’re noticing it.

    1. Jake says:

      I agree completely. Amazing how clueless society is nowadays.

      1. Darby says:

        And by your posts, you are the leader of the clueless

  23. Me says:

    For those of you that feel we are overpaid underworked state employees should get off your high horse and come work our jobs, schedules and on our wages before you spout off like you know what you are talking about. YOU HAVE NO CLUE!!!!!

  24. Jake says:

    So why wouldn’t someone without a job want to move to NH, VT, or SD? I have heard for a long time that those states are great places to live. LOW CRIME, reasonable taxes, good schools, interesting topography, places to explore, what’s the problem?

    1. KGDD says:

      You make it sound so great that I wonder why you live in Minnesota yet sing the praises of these states?

      1. Jake says:

        I am seriously considering moving out of Minnesota SOON. Don’t think that I’m NOT. If I do, the ‘state’ will lose. I’m tired of being taken for a FOOL.

        1. KGDD says:

          Not soon enough, 30 years of considering yourself a “fool” is quite a long time

          1. Jake says:

            Well, I always held out that somehow, our state would come to its senses, but I guess that is no longer believable. I also have a lot of family here, but maybe I’ll have to move just a little farther away to try and enjoy some REAL FREEDOM. I’ve seen this state go into steady decline over the last 20 years, and yet, we keep importing all of these east-coasters and every refugee on the planet, and GUESS WHAT, that plan isn’t working very well. So go ahead and turn MN into Michigan’s twin, and see what happens.

            1. Recall says:

              Montana is where I’m headed, I have 20 more years–so have to wait to see the oncoming change ofcourse. There is no reason to live out your retirement here.

        2. Stien says:

          I love it! I’m considering it! Suuuuurrreeeeee you are! And the other guy is going to wait 20 years first! RLMAO! Clowns!

          1. Recall says:

            The other guy is only 39!! I DO plan to move–for certain–it’s what people do -ya know. Go to warmer climates and find tax shelter in FL. They are called “snowbirds” you fool. Drink more coffee before you slam your mundane comments, please.

            1. Stien says:

              Awesome! Tell me….how many people move from Minnesota to FLa, AZ, ect once they retire. I have the stats if you’d like to see them. A snowbird is one who WINTERS not lives in another warm weather state. Nice try buddy! I don’t like coffee! I don’t care how old you are… don’t like it like you do, why wait?

              It’ what people do ya’know! LMAO! Actually they don’t! Look it up!
              1. A northerner who moves to a warmer southern state in the winter.
              2. A widespread and variable junco (Junco hyemalis) with gray or brown upper parts and a white belly. Also called northern junco, dark-eyed junco, slate-colored junco. More »

              1. Recall says:

                Hahahaha. I don’t want to spout too many names, it’s not my style. Only when deserved. But I do have some in mind for you. Do a little research—instead of those stats—look at the reality of what the difference is to retire here rather than elsewhere. When you spend your entire life building up a nest egg and put all safety guards in place to protect it, you should, then spend it reasonably and responsibly. MN is NEVER on any list of “Places to Retire”. i promise you that. I can always come back, I own and pay taxes on a lake cabin. So, don’t spend too much time panting on me. I take care of myself–and have a total right to my educated opinion and life choices.

                1. Recall says:

                  Oh, and look into residency rules while you’re at it. In the U.S, you are allowed to have a home in one state, and a home in another—allowing you to pick your state of residency–which then becomes the state you pay your taxes. SNOWBIRDS do it all the time.

                2. Citizen says:

                  @Recall. George & Barbara Bush listed an apartment in Dallas as their legal home while living in the White House, so they paid NO STATE INCOME tax because Texas doesn’t have one. Nifty little move, eh?

                3. Stien says:

                  Perfect! Pay taxes on your cabin and move. Thank you!

                  Educated opinion? You don’t know stats are formed by doing research. Wow U R Amazing! You are giving your kind ammunition. Clearly the public school system has failed you as well. Most people stay in MN when they retire……simple fact! But nice talking with ya! And good luck trying to move to another state and not pay ANY taxes! Great website out there for you.. To use your words… some research!

            2. Recall says:

              @ Whine Stien—No, a statistic is a piece of data that represents a sample—it is a number. See, I aced statistics at the University. That statistic needs to be explained through reason. In this case a hypothesis (an educated guess) would be applied to explain the statistic. I could go on but I think I already lost ya. And read the thread before you spit your nonsense. Did I ever say that all people retire out of state? Forget doing any “research,” it’s lost on your ignoramus kind.

  25. Roxanne Green says:

    The shut down is hard on all us. And yes the hwy workers, do work over time in the winter, to keep ours roads safe.and im thankful for them. when they do work over time so the rest of u who dont work for state shut up,just remember you are the ones who voted for this people, if you can do a better job then run for there jobs and lets see how u do.

    1. Jake says:

      Hey Roxanne, let me know when one of those underpaid gov’t jobs opens up, ’cause I’m eligible to retire from my private sector job, but I can assure you, I am still quite the productive employee. I can work day or night. holidays and/or weekends, don’t need to make $25/hr, I haven’t missed more than 2 months of work over a 30 year career, I am DRUG FREE, and I know what ‘serving the public’ really means. It would be great to try to break the back of all the nepotism that exists in state government employment. I think that they need a little different input as to how they do business, from a PRIVATE SECTOR PERSPECTIVE.

      1. KGDD says:

        What line of work are you in? I think we could look at the MAPE contract and see what your state equivalent earns.

        1. Jake says:

          KGDD, I am a telecom technician. But I have many other, non-certified skills, that would prove useful, certainly more useful than those held by Sonia Pitt, you know, our ’emergency management director’, who was being paid something like $85K a year, PLUS EXPENSES, who knew and did NOTHING for the PEOPLE, an anonymous, behind the scenes employee, who defrauded the people BIG TIME. Yes, she failed under Pawlenty, but I doubt that she was HIRED under the Pawlenty Administration.

          1. KGDD says:

            Using one person as an example for saying state workers are overpaid is really useless. I am sure you work with people in your same job class who are overpaid for the actual work they do. Also look at the times, non-certified skills are becoming more and more useless while more college graduates enter (or try to enter) the workforce. More and more jobs are making post high school education a requirement so I think you should blame society (of which you are a part) for putting too much emphasis on a college degree. On average people with your skills and experience make between $45-60k for the state. Pretty much nothing after 30 years of experience I would say.

            1. Jake says:

              Ah, as far as I’m concerned, NO IT’S NOT. It’s a PRIME EXAMPLE of what what is hoplessly broken, and what needs to be fixed. Yes, I have seen overpaid, lazy, people in my company, and sooner or later, THEY GET CANNED. Most college grads have FEW USEFUL skills in today’s workforce. My next door neighbor has a son with a PHD in music and wants to be a ‘conductor’. So what is the demand for such a person, with $100 grand in student loans these days?? Like, DUH. He has a PHD, but probably couldn’t replace a spare tire to save his own life. Great, just great.

              1. Stien says:

                Jake the State needs a guy like you! Get in there and make some changes man! Show’em what real work is like! RLMAO at you! Churp! Churp! Churp!

          2. Citizen says:

            @Jake. If you want to see how marketable your skills are, you can apply to the federal government. USAJOBS lists most of the jobs available in all areas of the country, so you can even pick where you want to live. You WILL have to pass a background investigation which includes a credit check and law enforcement data base check. And you will have to compete for the job in a very competitive environment. Or, you could try employment with a federal contractor. Get on with the right one and you an make twice the pay, plus bonsuses and benefits, of the federal employees who will oversee your and the contractor’s work. Good luck. Let us all know how that works out for you. I will even offer to help you fill out the questionnaires and KSAs.

  26. frustrated says:

    i can’t believe some of you feel like the state workers are the enemies here! these comments make me sick. not one of you would want to do my husband’s job. oh wait, he doesn’t have one now! we are your average all-american family with 3 kids suffering through loss of income because of this government gridlock. so not only have we lost the idea of common sense, we have now eliminated empathy?!?!?!? wow, MN nice!? this isn’t about whether we work in the public or private sector, this is about all of MN directly or indirectly being affected by yet another government circus.

    1. Jocleyn says:

      AMEN! 🙂 People who disregards your message would simply those who have not been in your situation. I’ll be praying for your family and those with the same situation. God bless!

  27. cybear says:

    Don’t like the shutdown? Call GOVERNOR DAYTON.

  28. haro says:

    Socialism is alive and well in Minnesota. And, Dayton, we, the people, are tired of Socialism. You and the democrats are going to be defeated by Tea Party Activists in the coming elections.

    1. DBB says:

      You are so right on! We live in an entitlement society. My fear is that we will never be able to turn things around.

      1. Recall says:

        You know, I’m not so sure—but I certainly hope so. The Tea Party gets a bad rap since most (unknowing) individuals relate the party to Bachman and vote accordingly—not true. The Tea Party is not meant to be lit by religion or crazy ultra right wing ideas. Ron Paul is a much better example of the populist libertarian movement that the Tea Party, I can appreciate represents. Conservative fiscal views, moderate/liberal social stance and a hardcore base and belief in individual freedoms and creation thereof. Low taxes (preferably flat tax) and a capitalist core. Libertarians may be increasing in numbers, especially with the unfolding of this unruly representation of the MN 2 party system

        1. George Washington says:

          Dude, I Love Ron Paul. Most of the people on these forums follow Obama or Romney. They think there is a big difference, but they are identical. “Hate the Dems” and “Hate the Repubs” scam still works on many of these sheep.

          The 2 party paradigm grip has most of these people walking into a polling both looking for a D or R. The funny thing is they think this is their political duty.

          The welfare/warfare state will never end until people actually understand what the role of government should be. It was never designed for “job securtiy or middle class jobs”

          Governments represent force, always has, always will. All they are doing now is determining how much of your money they plan on taking or how much money they plan on borrowing in your name.

  29. Jake says:

    Well, I can say this under the shutdown. I don’t blow $100 a week on the lottery, so I’m saving money BIG TIME!!! Imagine at least 100.000 others doing the same.
    Great plan dayton, kill the cash cow. I may just forget playing the lottery again, at least on the same level, for a long, long, time. Crocodile tears for you tree huggers and fur haters….

    1. Citizen says:

      @Jake. The lottery was designed for suckers. It’s also designed to be an addiction, sort of like the casinos. There’s a reason both lottery and casinos rake in a lot of money–BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF LOSERS in those games. You want to take real chances with your money, you can play the stock market. At least historically the stock market goes up–but no working man should have his money in any of these three, no matter how small. 401K’s started out as retirement plans for wealthy executives at Xerox, but quickly morphed into the 401Ks of today. Great way to feed the stock market!

    2. Stien says:

      You blow 100 bucks a week on the lottery? And you are trying to pass yourself off as smart!? Jake! Are you really that stupid you spend 100.00 a week on the lottery? And you claim to be drug free? You should start, at least you’d get something for it! 5,200 bucks a year on the lottery! Jake give me your money and I’ll at least give you a hug!

  30. john says:

    This government shutdown is good. It’s now becoming obvious what’s really essential and non-essential. And it appears that most of state government is non-essential.

    1. KGDD says:

      Putting that unbelievably blind comment aside look at how tomorrow 22,000 more people will start to collect unemployment insurance and how the private (for-profit) companies pay the interest on the loan the state government has to take out from the federal government. Think the companies will pay the interest and not raise prices to cover that cost? I won’t hold my breath.

      1. Crazy Nuts says:

        Why in the world are we paying unemployment insurance to 22,000 non-essential people?

        That makes absolutely no sense.

        1. KGDD says:

          Because they are laid off! The same benefits would be applied to someone in the private sector or in the outer space sector (made up I know). Come on Crazy Nuts and the other people, “non-essential” and “overpaid” people are in ALL SECTORS AND LINES OF WORK! I know of people who have collected paychecks in the private sector and seriously did not show up to work for one whole year, I also know of people in the public sector who do nothing and should be fired but due to the red tape involved they are not fired. Many of you continue to attack public employees for many issues that exist in the private sector as well, where is your witch hunt for those people? While you may work hard and feel you deserve recognition that does not mean every person does the same. Not all of the people laid off from the private sector are essential and they collected an unemployment check too Crazy Nuts…

    2. Jake says:

      john, you are absolutely correct. The only inconvenience that I have ‘suffered’ is the lack of playing the lottery, and it might turn out to be quite a blessing.
      Dayton may have done more damage to our state’s revenue than most of us could ever imagine.

    3. Stien says:

      The Government Shutdown is so awesome!

      State Workers aside, I keep thinking about my small in-state vacation destination, Bigfork Minnesota. A little town of 444 people, with one very nice State Park. The average household income for a FAMILY in Bigfork is 28K. (55K Statewide). With the park being closed nobody is buying, bait, gas, groceries, food, getting repairs done, shopping, going to the hardware store, Pizza Palace, ect. So the next time one of you morons think a State shutdown is great for State workers. Think about what it’s doing to the little guys who are not. It’s just as bad if not much worse for them.

  31. Kmcondon says:

    How about we trade Governors. We’ll gladly give you Walker. Maybe there is a silver lining there. We are trying to recall our Governor.

  32. The General says:

    So many ignorant robots. Since when do we have to be jeleous of one who makes $36,000? A pension that state workers pay 50% of? A benefit package that has eroted the last 12 years? Honestly it can still pay the bills for those that are still working, but shouldn’t we all want that? Why attack state workers who statistically proven make less than private workers in comparable jobs? 10 years ago state workers would get laughed at for not moving to the private sector for higher wage. Since tides have turned many of the crumbling private sector workers look at state workers as if they are paid too highly. Sadly they should look at state workers and union workers as the only thing keeping their jobs or “private jobs” paid respectively. Think about it, capitalist-tea party- republicans are out for one thing….to weaken the only backbone that keeps all labor wages reasonable….the unions! With out any backbone to support middle class workers all workers will suffer, public and private! Who do you think funds these new-wave republicans? Me and you the middle class? Or the corporations that only profit from attacking the labor costs? I used to vote republican, it used to mean something, this new wave of republicans who are only out for one thing- corporate profits – I will never support them again. Fact – if you fired every state employee it would save almost 2 billion per year (yes that includes all benefits). Seems like a lot, but out of 34 billion it seems like state workers only equal budget dust. Ask yourself why do these “tight budget” republicans mainly focus on state workers when there are obvious real issues like the welfare system,etc? They are only out to drop the cost of labor which kills all of us just to help their corporate buddies make higher profits. Please just consider the idea. Is anyone aware that the offer from the republican legislature to state workers would bring all average salary workers to food stamp wages? Average state worker would bring home around $13,000 per year! up to a $12,000 in health care cost increase(among other major hits)! Bet that brings a smile to you public employee haters! Just a shame all of us low to middleclass workers can’t take a stand for the good of all of us. We are all part of the same team, just trying to make ends meet, while the wealthy and corporates make record profits while still dropping the cost of labor.

    1. Jocleyn says:

      General, I totally agree with you!

    2. Citizen says:

      Good post, General. However, I am afraid it will be lost on the rabid CONservative posters here. The Rethuglicans NEVER let facts and statistics and history get in the way of their delusions. Yes, the GOP has been waging war on the middle class since Reagan’s term when he doubled the social security tax ostensibly to “help” with that future shortfall in 2037, while at the same time using the unified budget approach (throwing SS into the main pot of money) to offset the big tax cuts for his wealthy backers. The old shell game. Historically, too, the stock market does better under Democratic presidents, but the GOP also doesn’t let that fact get in the way of the trickle down theory or any other fiction they force on the “proles.” The GOP has been inventing itself as the rebellious outsider party that protects the “proles” when in actuality it has been at the helm and in control of government more often than not. Great smoke and mirrors game worthy of Houdini!

  33. Jake says:

    One thing is very clear to me here. Most of the posters have NEVER taken a good ECON 101 course, or if they have, they have failed it, or , they managed to get passed thru some uber liberal prof who worships Paul Krugman.

    1. Recall says:

      I think you’re on to something. Everyone should just wiki The Great Depression. That’s a good introduction. Understand the New Deal, and why the programs were started and then halted shortly after. Good stuff.

    2. Stien says:

      This is the guy blowing 100.00 a week on the lottery! Now that’s a econ class boys and girls!

  34. xx says:

    Since the Governor did not sign the budget that was passed by the legislators, perhaps the governor should pay the salaries of all of the workers who have been laid off by his actions The legislators passed the budget that they had been asked to pass by the people who elected them.
    Are you listening Mr. Governor?

    1. Recall says:

      Dayton didn’t sign the budget because the GOP had to sneak in pro-religion, anti-science, anti-freedom pork at the last minute. No one party is to blame here.

  35. Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste says:

    Cry me a river, these babies need to be replaced

  36. Mark from says:

    Is it true? State Employees are the only ones to work Holidays or if it snows?

    1. old nurse says:

      The story nor the person claimed to be the only one to work holidays. Perhaps you need to learn to read and no to read into what is not there. Twisting things for perverse self interest is disgusting.

  37. Leroy says:

    I have nothing against state workers but they have only been on unemployment for one week and there many people who have been out of work for close to the 99 week limit with no job in sight and they have a job once things are settled. Maybe when they go back to work they will have more empathy for those they serve instead of looking down on those who are in need. Welcome to the real world sort of. I am sure that many of them will take the temp jobs our company rather than go to the lake and collect there unemployment check, So far the coverage has showen what a bunch of whiners they have become.

    1. ME says:

      AND YOU CAN THANK REPUBILCANS FOR NOT CREATING JOBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. Captain America says:

    I fail to see how bashing “state workers” is helping solve this issue. I have known many state workers who have been with their various agencies for 2-3 decades & have experienced a significant reduction in benefits, minimal to no pay increases, fewer resources, endless budget cuts, all similar to those happening in the private sector. If you think working for the state is glory on high, I’m wondering why you’ve never applied….. Reveling in anyone’s misfortune is the lowest form of human behavior, but if you strongly believe targeting state workers is necessary, you might want to start with the ones at the top of the food chain, the ones who are NOT attending to business at our capitol.

    1. Leroy says:

      We are not bashing state workers as much as the fact that after one week on the unemployment line the media treats them as if their world has ended. Their jobs and all the comp time they have will still be there so then they can take some more time off. Could have saved the state some money by making them use their vacation and comp time first so there would be a full staffing when they got back and it would have saved us unemploment costs. They also would have had full pay for some time yet, but their union tried to make it sound like they were doing us a favor by holding on to all they future time off. We can definitely start with at the top off the chain and get rid of Dayton and get a govenor not in the pocket of the unions

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