Will There Be Payback for the Bakk Brodkorb Broadside?

WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler tweets that Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Virginia) wants to reduce Republican payrolls because of the over $200,000 in legal expenses associated with the contested firing of  Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb after Brodkorb had an affair with Bakk’s predecessor, then Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

 This raises Golden Ruley questions, such as:

  • Were DFL staff payrolls reduced in order to cover legal expenses associated with the DFL-heavy Phonegate scandal?
  • Would DFLers support a local school board Education Minnesota members’ salaries to pay for legal expenses associated with anti-gay bullying lawsuits?
  • Would DFLers have been comfortable cutting the salaries of workers at the EVTAC mine in Eveleth to pay legal expenses associated with the sexual harassment charges against that company?

The point:  Most rank-and-file Repblican staffers presumably were not making decisions about the Brodkorb affair and firing, so explaining the payroll cut as an en masse punishment for the lawsuit doesn’t seem fair.

To be clear, the issue is the explanation, not the action.  Majority Leader Bakk is justified in reducing Republican staff payrolls, just as Republicans reduced DFL payrolls when they became the majority party.  When electoral shifts cause changes in party majorities, political staffing levels shift accordingly.  As long as the staffing shift is proportional to the electoral shift, there’s nothing nefarious about such adjustments.

But if Senator Bakk insists on using the Brodkorb suit as his rationale for the Republican payroll cuts, that rationale may well be used against him or his party some day.  And paybakk could be a bitch.

– Loveland

Note:  This post was also featured in Politics in Minnesota’s Best of the Blogs and Minnpost’s Blog Cabin feature.

One thought on “Will There Be Payback for the Bakk Brodkorb Broadside?

  1. I appreciate the GOP complaint alleging excessive cuts to Republican staff members … but should the taxpayers have some idea how much some of these “public servants” are paid and if the salary is equitable to the position regardless of which party may be in charge ?

    The Pioneer Press ran a story back in 2009 stating that 23 employees were paid more than $100,000 …. Checkout some of these salaries–
    Mike Charboneau, executive director of the DFL House Caucus, $123,000 a year
    Daniel Wolf, former GOP chief of staff, $119,959
    Michael Kelmhelgen, executive director, rules committee, $119,959
    Joel Michael, House research staff coordinator, $110,279
    Mark Shepard, House research staff coordinator, $109,553
    Gary Hill, executive assistant to Senate majority caucus, $100,800

    Heck, even the Senate Republican Caucus was advertising for a “Researcher” at a salary of $39,865 while a “Legislative Assistant I” was slotted at $32,290 …. And as you have pointed out in another post, as of 2012, members of the Minnesota legislature are paid $31,140.90/year. Forget being a State Senator … be an aide.

    May be those “players” are gone … but how much are the current “slots” assigned ?

    I do not like the idea that a political victory begets the “spoils” … but in this case, the pox is on both houses.

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