Posted at 2:00 PM on July 7, 2011
by Catharine Richert
Politics in Minnesota has this story about the members of Dayton's staff who will remain on the payroll during a government shutdown.
According to the story, Dayton's staff of about 40 people will be trimmed to 20. Those staffers sticking around include his chief of staff Tina Smith and press secretary Katharine Tinucci.
Two employees on the list have become the subject of a Republican flier. In it, the GOP points out that Micah Pace and Michele Mersereau are Dayton's chef and housekeeper, respectively.
But it turns out that Pace, the chef, isn't being paid with taxpayer dollars during the shutdown. Rather, Dayton's paying his salary out of his own pocket, said spokeswoman Tinucci. She also pointed out that the Governor's residence is a national and state historic site, and requires regular upkeep as a result - hence the decision to keep Mersereau on the payroll.
Ramsey County Court Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled the Legislature an essential service, and so far that means no staffers have been laid off.
But all that could change if the shutdown goes on long enough, according to House Republican spokeswoman Jodi Boyne. That's because funds from the last budget cycle are being used to keep staffers on the payroll, and they are due to run out around Aug. 31.
In the Senate, no employees have been laid off, either, according to GOP spokesman Michael Brodkorb. That chamber is relying on carry over funds as well to keep staff employeed, but they'll likely need to reassess finances at the end of July, Brodkorb said.
Update: Dayton's spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci, just emailed me to point out that the Politics in Minnesota story requires two small corrections. Micah Hines is acting counsel, not assistant chief of staff. And Nicole Wittig-Geske is not an assistant; rather she handles extraditions and executive orders, among other things, which continue during the shutdown.
Tom Scheck contributed to this report.
I can't believe this nitpicking...and the Republican House & Senate members are receiving pay for this time! Get your job done!