House Republicans and Gov. Mark Dayton squared off Wednesday over Michele Kelm-Helgen, the governor's former deputy whom he appointed to chair the public body overseeing the building of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

The Republican-controlled House State Government Finance Committee unveiled a budget late Tuesday that would eliminate Kelm-Helgen's salary, barely two weeks after questions arose over whether Kelm-Helgen's role was overlapping that of Ted Mondale, the executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority.

Dayton reacted angrily on Wednesday, and issued a long verbal rebuttal to the Legislature's foray into what he said was executive branch prerogatives.

"Talk to anybody who's involved in the stadium project, and they'll tell you the number one reason that project is on time and on budget with the incredible complexities of it all, and the pressures with the Wilfs, [the family that owns the Vikings, is] because Michele Kelm-Helgen is chairing that commission," said Dayton, who led the push to build the $1 billion stadium.

"So now you have a House committee popping off and saying, well, she can't be paid a salary? The Legislature gave me the authority to appoint the chair" the governor added. "It's none of their business. They ought to leave it alone."

Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, the State Government Finance Committee chair, said earlier Wednesday that Kelm-Helgen seemed to be duplicating Mondale's role. "We have both an executive director and it seems like a 'pseudo executive director,' " she said.

"It just doesn't make sense," Anderson added.

Kelm-Helgen earns $127,000 as the authority's chair — she was initially paid $100,000 after being appointed — and Mondale is paid $162,245 as its executive director. Though the job had not been a full-time position when a public body oversaw the Metrodome, the Vikings' home for 30 years, Kelm-Helgen said she is working full time as the new stadium is being built.

Both Mondale and Kelm-Helgen have deep DFL political ties. Mondale is the son of former Vice President Walter Mondale and Kelm-Helgen was a former deputy chief of staff to Dayton, a DFL governor.

Dayton also on Wednesday took members of the sports facilities authority — including those he appointed — to task for igniting the controversy last month. He accused them of pulling "antics about her salary and whether she should be full time."

Bill McCarthy, another board member and president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, agreed with Dayton. "This is nothing but a partisan witch-hunt by two commissioners and Republicans in the Minnesota House," he said.

The controversy arose at last month's authority meeting when Duane Benson, a former state Senate minority leader, and John Griffith criticized the two roles. "I've never seen something function like this," said Griffith, who has been an executive vice president at Target Corp.

Kelm-Helgen said that she was asked to appear before the State Finance Committee, but said Wednesday that the meeting was cancelled. "I would expect a respectful review of our performance," she said in a statement.

Staff writer J. Patrick Coolican contributed to this report.