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Updated: 12/20/2011 4:11 PM
Created: 12/20/2011 4:05 PM | Print |  Email
By: Mark Albert

Senator to MnSCU: Reform Contracts to Cap Payouts

nullThe lawmaker who will hold hearings in the Minnesota Senate in January about the appropriateness of millions of dollars in payouts to departing state workers has sent a letter to the chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system warning that "if reforms and improvements are not made," to employee contracts, "in the interest of protecting the taxpayers," lawmakers may act instead.

In the letter dated Dec. 15, 2011, Sen. Mike Parry (R-Waseca), also cautioned MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone that "unchecked spending is no longer acceptable," and that lawmakers "retain authority to modify," state employment contracts.

In November, a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation revealed that $86 million dollars had been paid to retiring and departing state workers in the past three years.

Eighteen of the 20 largest payouts, totaling $2.1 million, had gone to MnSCU administrators, according to a KSTP analysis, a statistic quoted in Sen. Parry's letter to MnSCU.

MnSCU has defended the amounts as necessary to attract and retain top talent. In a comment after Sen. Parry first called in November for legislative hearings, spokesperson Melinda Voss told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "We understand there's going to be legislative discussion. All of our contracts were approved by the House and Senate and signed by the former governor."

Click here to watch our original investigation, Cashing Out, from Nov. 20, 2011, and access our interactive database of payout amounts.