Letter to the Editor: Sen. Sparks Legislative Salary
“Now that the state shutdown is over, I think it is important for the hard-working men and women in the district I am honored to represent to know that I am not accepting any compensation for the time that the government was shut down. I never believed I should accept a salary when so many other Minnesotans weren’t, and I took immediate action in July to stop my Senate paycheck. That full story was never reported, however.
I worked through the last minutes of June believing we would find a solution to this budget problem and that Republican leaders would agree to one of Governor Dayton’s compromises. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
When the state shutdown occurred, I asked to reject my paycheck during the shutdown, but it was too late – July paychecks already had been issued. I then told the Senate I would like to withhold August pay instead, but now I am told it is not possible because the shutdown is over and all salaries are required to be paid.
Therefore, I am donating my earnings from the time of the shutdown to the United Way of Freeborn and Mower Counties. I attended a meeting on June 21, where local nonprofit agencies told me how the state shutdown would affect their ability to care for families in our area. I believe donating my salary to the United Way is the next best option – it keeps the dollars local and helps support our communities.
My commitment to this job remains to you and our communities – not the money – and I hope this donation reflects that pursuit.”