The day before a Minnesota House and Senate panel is expected to reject a contract agreement for state employees, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton blasted the meeting as "political theatrics."
Several Republicans have criticized the deal, saying it's out of line with what private employers are offering their workers. The GOP chair and vice chair of the Legislative Subcommittee on Employee Relations, Sen. Mike Parry and Rep. Steve Drazkowski, had asked for a meeting with Dayton prior to the 8:30 a.m., Thursday subcommittee meeting.
"As we have looked at those two negotiated contracts, we have concerns that both are lacking in any reforms that limit automatic cost increases or embrace performance incentives," Parry and Drazkowski wrote.
Dayton declined the request today in a letter to the two lawmakers. He also took exception to their criticism of the agreement his administration recently negotiated.
"It is a responsible agreement and one that is well within the financial parameters established in the four, two-year contracts negotiated by the previous Republican administration, all of which were approved by the Legislature," Dayton wrote. "We can find no evidence that either of you publicly criticized the previous governor for his four agreements."
Dayton was just getting warmed up. Later in the three-page letter, he criticized Parry and Drazkowski for their support of GOP "attacks" on public employees and collective bargaining.
"Unfortunately, you and other Republican politicians continue trying to drive a wedge between public and private sector employees. The repeated claims that state employee unions are ripping off Minnesota taxpayers are designed for political gain, not constructive reforms. And they are wrong."
The 2013 Legislature will have to vote on the contract proposal if the subcommittee rejects it.
Here's the governor's letter:
Here's the Parry/Drazkowski letter: