ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Despite his own reluctance, Gov. Mark Dayton has authorized payment of a $200,000 legal settlement with a former employee of a state ethnic council.

Dayton approved the payment even though he said before Thanksgiving he was hesitant to do so following a legislative commission's party-line vote against the deal. That vote, with Republicans objecting, was advisory only.

A budget agency official says the payment was approved Dec. 3. Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson says the Democratic governor went ahead "in order to avoid the risk of incurring additional costs for Minnesota taxpayers."

Without a settlement, a trial would have started soon.

Last year, the ex-employee sued the entity now called the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage on grounds she was defamed, discriminated against and driven out by its prior leader.