Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Thursday that he’s forming a commission to advise him on how he should set up city government after voters handed him more power in an election earlier this month.
The mayor said he hopes the volunteers — some of whom were the leading advocates of the successful ballot question — will be willing to study how strong mayor systems have worked in other cities and what the pros and cons would be as Minneapolis charts a path.
“This is among the most important things that we will do as a city,” Frey said. “…One of the goals is that our workforce will have more clear direction when it comes to carrying out their work, and that is a good thing for the people that we represent.”
Earlier this month, voters approved a change to the city charter that designates the mayor as the “chief executive” who supervises most departments and states that council members may not “usurp, invade, or interfere with the Mayor’s direction or supervision of the administration.”
Cities with strong mayor systems have set up their local governments in a variety of ways. Some have deputy mayors, while others have city managers to help oversee daily business.
The commission will be lead by Pizza LucéCEO JJ Haywood and former City Council Member Kathleen O’Brien, who helped form a political committee called Charter for Change, which advocated for the proposal. Barry Clegg, chairman of the Minneapolis Charter Commission, where the proposal originated, will also be a member. Frey said they are also placing people who opposed the proposal on the commission, including former City Council Member Robert Lilligren. Other confirmed members include P. Jay (Jay) Kiedrowski, Pat Born, Myron Frans, Tim Marx, Kim Nelson and Pahoua Yang Hoffman, according to Frey’s office.
On Thursday, the City Council also asked city staff to provide recommendations on how to best staff and support their work under the new government system. Findings are due back next year, “early enough in the new term to allow the Council to make informed decisions for how to ensure it is adequately resourced to support its work,” the council directive said.
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