We are in day 7 of Minnesota Held Hostage. The shutdown of state government proceeds, with an exemption for staff designated essential. Governor Dayton has laid off half of his 40-member staff during the shutdown, while he has designated 20 essential and kept them at work. Dayton is of course a (South Dakota) trust fund beneficiary who has never supported himself on a salary in his life, so his idea of “essential” may not be exactly mainstream.
MinnPost’s Joe Kimball writes: “On the list of those still working are two staff members, Micah Pace and Michelle Mersereau, who were listed as ‘Residence Support Staff.'” Pace and Mersereau are Dayton’s chef and housekeeper/server.
The Republican Party of Minnesota has taken the occasion to issue a press release that I doubt will see the light of day in the Star Tribune. It gives the top 10 reasons why Governor Dayton decided to keep his $45,000 personal chef and $35,000 housekeeper/server among the 20 “essential” government employees serving him at the governor’s mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul:
(10) Gov. Dayton thinks a chef and a housekeeper come standard with all public housing.
(9) Gov. Dayton has made such a mess of the budget process that one can only imagine the mess he has made of the Governor’s Mansion.
(8) Keeping the governor’s $45,000 Personal Chef and $35,000 Housekeeper/Server on staff is a reasonable compromise – half way between fending for himself and floating state bonds to purchase Forepaugh’s and Stanley Steamer.
(7) Gov. Dayton believes that deeming a personal chef and a housekeeper/server “essential” proves government can create jobs.
(6) Someone has to open the windows of governor’s SUV for his dogs on very hot days.
(5) Personal Chef Micah Pace will institute significant cost savings by creating “Lobster Helper” recipes for Gov. Dayton during the shutdown.
(4) Gov. Dayton offered the jobs to Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch calling it a significant compromise on his part, but they turned him down.
(3) During budget negotiations neither Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk nor House Minority Leader Paul Thissen has proven capable of cleaning up after the governor.
(2) Gov. Dayton’s ex-wife is too busy writing checks to Alliance for a Better Minnesota to come over and help. (Rockefellers don’t do windows.)
And the Number One reason Gov. Dayton decided to deem his $45,000 Chef and $35,000 Housekeeper/Server “essential” government employees during his shutdown of state government:
(1) Gov. Dayton cannot accept a Minnesota where the governor of the state does not have personal servants at public expense so that millionaires do not have to pay one dollar more in taxes.
Let’s just say that Governor Dayton seems not to have acquired the gift of seeing himself as others see him.