Lawmaker asks for audit of big payouts to MnSCU retirees

State Rep. Joe Atkins, a DFLer from Inver Grove Heights, says he has big concerns about retirement payments of up to $300,000 to Minnesota State College and University executives for unused sick time, vacation and severance.

And because of the use of student tuition and taxpayer dollars, he’s asking the Legislative Auditor to look into the issue.

“The ability to cash out six-figure sums upon retirement appears to make MnSCU an outlier not merely compared to the private sector, but compared to other state agencies and departments as well,” Atkins said in a statement.

He’d earlier asked for a hearing on the issue in the House Higher Education Finance Committee, but no date for a hearing has been set.

Atkins said he wants an audit to examine the compensation in question, ascertain its size and scope, the purpose it serves, and determine whether there has been appropriate oversight and transparency relative to these payouts.

“I am not proposing a rush to judgment, nor am I faulting any individual MnSCU employee or official for bargaining strenuously for the best compensation package possible,” Atkins said. “An audit will help determine the extent to which greater oversight, transparency and reforms are necessary.”

Earlier this month, KSTP-TV News and the Pioneer Press both looked at the high cost of retirement payouts.

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