ST. PAUL, Minn., June 28 (UPI) -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders huddled in St. Paul Tuesday as the prospect of a shutdown of state government services grew clearer.
Republican legislative leaders Monday called for a special session to pass some individual budget bills, but Dayton, a Democrat, said no, insisting an entire budget agreement be reached first, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
If a budget deal isn't reached, government services would shut down Friday, the start of the new biennium budget period.
The Legislature's two top Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers, also drew criticism for sending an e-mail to state workers using the state e-mail system, with some recipients calling the missive "partisan" and "inappropriate."
Zellers defended the e-mail as an attempt to let employees know "they're valued members of our workforce and that we don't want to shut down government."
"As Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate, we want to personally let you know that we do not want a government shutdown," read e-mail from Sellers and Koch sent Monday.
It noted that Dayton pledged as a candidate and in his State of the State address that he would work to avoid a government shutdown.
"We take him at his word, and we will work every day to help him keep it," the e-mail said. The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, which represents more than 12,100 state government workers, took exception.
"Meet with the governor and get the job done," the union said in a statement. "Don't waste time on insincere and insulting letters."
Several state employees said they considered the e-mail partisan, MinnPost.com reported. One employee in the Department of Natural Resources said he thought the e-mail was meant advance a political agenda and was a possible violation of the ethics expected of state officials.
Zellers said he didn't have any ethical concerns about the e-mail, the Pioneer Press reported.