APM Reports questions Dayton severance pay for state officials

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Gov. Mark Dayton

Think of it as the world’s tiniest golden parachute. APM Reports’ September writes: “When Katie Clark Sieben announced in April she was resigning as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, her boss, Gov. Mark Dayton, praised her ‘tremendous talent’ and said she would be a ‘contributing leader of this community for many years to come.’ … He also quietly authorized a $33,750 severance payment to Sieben on top of the $10,490 in unused vacation and sick time Sieben cashed out when she left her position. … It was the third time Dayton had provided for severance pay for a top outgoing official, a practice that is a departure from his predecessor, Republican Tim Pawlenty, and has raised a question whether he has the budget authority to deliver such payouts.”

Come for the down-home cooking, stay for the virulent Islamophobia. KARE reports: “A Lonsdale restaurant sign drew protests and controversy on social media Monday night. … The sign, which sits outside of Treats Family Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor, read ‘Muslims get out.’ Small groups of protesters gathered outside the restaurant throughout the evening. … The owner of the restaurant said he decided to voice his opinion in the wake of the attacks in St. Cloud, New York and New Jersey. He also said his sign is geared toward extremists, not necessarily all Muslims.

Selling out to big pedestrian. The Journal’s Dylan Thomas reports: “Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition will change name to reflect expanded mission … The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition plans to revamp its identity next year as it expands its mission to advocate for walkers and wheelchair users in addition to bicyclists. … The coalition announced in September it plans to unveil a new name and logo in 2017 to reflect an expansion of the nonprofit’s work into the pedestrian realm.”

Next City’s Jen Kinney looks into Minneapolis’ controversial north side greenway project. She writes: “In a Minneapolis neighborhood whose history has swung between neglect and destructive public projects, a proposed greenway is stirring up fierce passions, pro and con. In over four years’ worth of public engagement surveys, a majority of north Minneapolis residents said they’d support some kind of low-traffic or no-traffic bicycle and pedestrian corridor. But some residents still feel the project is being foisted upon them. Now the neighborhood is engaged in the ultimate test: A 5-block pilot of the proposed 37-block, 3.5-mile route was unveiled earlier this summer and will remain in place for an entire year.”

In other news…

There really is something in the water: “Number of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Hopkins grows” [MPR]

New bookstore: “Local publisher Milkweed Books opens its shop today” [City Pages]

Be considerate of your shelled friends: “Keep An Eye Out For Turtles As They Head To Their Winter Homes” [WCCO]

Deadspin Legacy Brick update: “You Found Our Tribute To Vikings History” [Deadspin]

Day brightener: “Wisconsin man’s best friend is a blind horse” [MPR]

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/20/2016 - 05:19 pm.

    Not a tiny golden parachute.

    ‘In each of the three cases, the severance payment was equal to three months of the officials’ salaries, according to the governor’s office. Sieben’s severance was more than what some clerical workers and service employees at DEED earn in a year. Her annual salary was $135,000.”

    It’s almost exactly half of the median income for white households in Minnesota and close to 100% of the median income for black households.

  2. Submitted by charles thompson on 09/20/2016 - 07:38 pm.

    tiny indeed

    Lets try and compare this to the Wells Fargo parachute for a control fraudster (in the perfect job creating private sector) who supervised the creation of thousands of bogus accounts and parachuted down with tens, or was it hundreds, of millions of dollars. Orders of magnitude are a thing. Then there is the fact that these people served honorably. The unused sick/vacation time is pretty standard. And finally I have a question. Who is Tim Pawlenty and what kind of useful work is he doing now?

  3. Submitted by Ted Hathaway on 09/20/2016 - 08:09 pm.

    No, a subatomic parachute

    Sieben’s “golden parachute” is gold spray paint on a plastic grocery bag compared with Wells Fargo’s Carrie Tolstedt, who “retired” this summer with a package worth $125million – about 3000 times the size of Sieben’s munificent flyspeck – after boldly leading WF’s community banking division down the path of illegality leading to that bank’s current scandal. I don’t believe Sieben’s tenure resulted in the unemployment of thousands of state workers taking the fall for anything she did, either. Let’s also not forget the odious Gregg Steinhafel, who walked away with $61 million after engineering the Target corporation’s disastrous and ill-conceived venture into Canada, resulting in over 17,000 layoffs.

    Politicians pouncing on the trivial peccadillos of other politicians while their corporate keepers walk away with millions scot-free simply engenders the public’s contempt for them, and fosters doubt in their ability to do anything constructive. Even worse is the cluelessness of so many top business leaders. It brings to mind Theodore Roosevelt’s lament that the rise of radicalism and resentment was the result of the “dull, purblind folly of the very rich.” That was over 100 years ago, but could easily be said now.

  4. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 09/20/2016 - 11:19 pm.

    Tiny is relative– look to the recent retirement package of the Wells Fargo exec (125 million, if memory serves) or any private-sector executive job, and you will see the difference in scale.

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