The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 14, 2013

Be open with public salaries

Why it matters: Transparency in government creates confidence for those who pay public salaries


We surmise the fear of putting public salaries in full view of the public is that some citizens will figure their local public executives are paid too much. That certainly can and should be an issue for local governments to discuss.

The AP report shows that in some cases salary for the same position rose $40,000 in eight years. The law opened up restrictions on public employees who under previous law could not be paid more than 95 percent of the governor’s salary without a special exemption. The change in the law allowed for pay of 110 percent of the governor’s salary without special state approval.

The AP report shows 145 city and county employees earn more than the governor’s salary of $120,303. Those salaries may not be surprising or even out of line in and of themselves, but the transparency provisions of the law certainly are aimed at starting a discussion about that. Local officials who approved higher salaries for Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges and Blue Earth County Administrator Bob Meyer say the salaries are competitive and commensurate with the job requirements and performance of both executives.

Now, the public has the information to weigh in on those decisions as we go forward.

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