The chairperson of the public’s U.S. Bank Stadium oversight panel will work part time and be paid no more than $60,000, less than half the salary of the former chairwoman.
“I feel very strongly that a part-time position would be adequate,” interim Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chairwoman Kathleen Blatz said at Thursday’s meeting. Blatz, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, has been in the job since February when Gov. Mark Dayton’s previous appointee to the job, Michele Kelm-Helgen, resigned over her use of two of the most expensive suites at the new $1.1 billion publicly subsidized stadium.
Blatz said a $60,000 salary was consistent with what was paid to those who occupied a similar position at the Metrodome. Taxpayers pay for the board, which serves to represent the public interests in the stadium.
The chairperson will preside at meetings, serve as the principal spokesperson and represent the authority to the Legislature and other governmental bodies. The chairperson is also responsible for community outreach.
Blatz is not taking a salary for her work and does not plan to serve in the position much longer. She said Dayton has given no indication of when he will appoint a successor and a new board member to an open position.
At the meeting, MSFA board members also received updates about repairs to zinc panels on the stadium as well as an investigation into Monterrey Security, the Chicago-based firm that was hired to protect the building and its occupants 24/7.
Executive Director Rick Evans said discussions continue over the panels — some of which have broken loose and/or allowed moisture seepage during storms and winds. Evans reiterated that taxpayers won’t pay for the fix once a decision is made. “My highest priority is to bring that to closure,” he said.
He and Blatz both spoke about an the investigation into Monterrey Security by the state Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services. Blatz and Evans said they independently contacted the board, learning that a probe into the Chicago-based security firm was underway — but little else.
Blatz said she asked whether the public was at risk of imminent harm because of concerns with Monterrey. She said she was told no. She also said that neither the MSFA nor SMG, the stadium’s operator that hired Monterrey, had been contacted about the security firm. Someone, however, did contact the board about concerns with licensing and background checks of employees, according to a report by KSTP-TV. It’s unknown when that investigation will be complete. Monterrey has not responded to calls or messages in recent weeks.
SMG, the stadium’s operator that hired Monterrey with MSFA approval, has hired the law firm Maslon to conduct its own investigation. Lawyer Steven Schleicher is leading the inquiry. “We’re on the case, and we take this as a very important matter,” Evans said.
The MSFA also approved 4.5 percent wage increases for four staff members, who last got raises in January 2016. Evans said the staff members had done “terrific work” and he felt bad there exists “mistrust and misperception” by the public about how hard they work. “We’ll perform, and the truth will be seen,” he said.