Poor reasons for high admin pay

Bloated administrative pay has been a contentious issue over the past year, but that has not fazed Gov. Mark Dayton, who recently instated significant pay increases to his commissioners without legislative approval, the Star Tribune reported last week.

Despite his contention that this move was perfectly legal and has “no controversy,” his motivations for doing so are suspect at best. Stating that “stagnant wages were hurting state government’s ability to attract and retain top talent,” Dayton states that high government salaries are necessary.

This claim is extraordinarily similar to a statement by University of Illinois administrator Randy Kangas, who said, “If you want to go after the best people, it’s going to be expensive,” in a Minnesota Daily article about administrative pay last October.

The Harvard Business Review published research on the link between job motivation and pay and found that unlike money, intrinsic motivation actually plays an important role in determining job performance. Moreover, another report found that the perfect salary for “happiness” was $75,000. Any more would not correlate with any more day-to-day happiness.

The problem with continued assertions such as these is that administrations claim to be unfettered by the motivations of money yet clearly seem to believe that they deserve ever-growing salaries while the middle-class’ salaries remain stagnant.

It’s time that the excuses for unnecessarily high salaries are called out and to force those who perpetuate them to admit that in addition to serving the public, they also really like raising their own salaries, too.