MINNEAPOLIS COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
Commission Meeting MINUTES of Monday, March 19, 2012
Minneapolis City Hall, Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference Room - 241
350 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN
6:05 PM, Call to Order and Roll Call
Commissioners in Attendance: Lonnie Nichols, Patricia Nelson, Michelle Monteiro, Adosh Unni, Thomas Gallagher, Emily Froehle, Jennifer Thompson, Wendy Adler Robinson, Peter Larsen, Terrance Noble, G. Christine Peters, John Oberreuter, Bernadette Casey, Marla Khan, Surya Rochel, Cecelia Rodriguez-Melendez, Michael McHugh, Kenneth Fukuda
Commissioners Absent: Danielle Shelton Walczak
City Staff: Michael Browne, Carol Bachun, Lee Zutz, Johnnie Burns, Toni Newborn, Sherman Patterson
Guests: Kenneth Brown and Student Observer in Anonymity
Approval of Agenda with amendments to report by the Assistant City Attorney and League of Minnesota Human Rights Commission representative: Moved by Froehle and Approved by consensus.
Approval February 27, 2012 MCCR minutes; Moved by Froehle and approved by consensus; Abstentions by Fukuda, McHugh and Rodriguez-Melendez.
Assistant City Attorney Bachun provides a legal opinion, as requested by the Commission on February 27, 2012, as to whether City resources can be used to coordinate advocacy efforts with other groups in opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.
Background: In 2011 the MCCR established a Same Sex Marriage Ban Research Task Force as an ad hoc group of PR&E Committee, and on February 10, 2012, The City Council of The City of Minneapolis Resolved (RESOLUTION 2012R-059): That the City of Minneapolis joins the broad and growing coalition of organizations stated above (i.e. community and business leaders, faith, labor, progressive and nonpartisan organizations, communities of color, and current and former elected officials) in supporting Minnesota’s United for All Families and hereby opposes the proposed constitutional amendment entitled “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman”, and urges Minnesotans to vote “No” on the amendment on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
Two handouts are distributed to the Commission, the first a copy of the February 10, 2012, Minneapolis City Council minutes which include Resolution 2012R-059, and the second, a copy of the Reviewed/Revised August 2011 “Statement of Position on Expenditure of Public Funds on Ballot Issue Advocacy” by the State of Minnesota: Office of The State Auditor. Referencing the latter handout, Assistant City Attorney Bachun indicates that the Minnesota Attorney General has long held that local governments cannot spend public funds on campaigns to promote a particular election outcome such as to adopt amendments to the Minnesota Constitution. Bachun says that the standard to confirm the impact of an election outcome on the City’s population is very high; and further directs members of the Commission to note the hand out states the Office of the State Auditor recommends that, before spending public funds to advocate a ballot issue, a local government entity seek legal advice and that, elected (or appointed as in the case of the Commission) officials may appear before citizens to orally advocate for a particular position so long as no expenditure of public funds is involved.
Michael Browne, Assistant Director (AD) provides report on Probable Cause (PC), No Probable Cause (NPC) and Dismissals, indicating that as of March 19, 2012, there are 85 case files pending resolution with the department. There are 6 cases being conciliated by the department: 12 current cases under review by the Commission; 0 PC, 3 NPC and 3 Dismissals. There were 83 cases 1-12 months age, 2 cases in the 13 – 30 month category and 0 cases was older than 31 months, with a total of 0 cases in the backlog. Any case over 365 days old is deemed to be in the backlog. AD Browne indicates that 160 cases have been contracted for the 2012 EEOC, with 32 cases having been submitted to date for credit. Given that the 2010 figure of 216 cases in the backlog has been brought down to zero, cases can now be assigned additional investigation and expeditiously processed by staff as needed.
AD Browne shares that department staff and Chair Froehle will likely present an annual report on the activities of the Civil Rights Commission to the full City Council in April. He requests input for the 2011 Commission report by March 26, 2012.
Commission on Civil Rights Committee Reports:
Contract Compliance – McHugh provides a summary of City of Minneapolis monitored contracts for the 4th quarter of 2011.
Public Relations and Education: Commissioners Casey, Khan, Nelson and Rochel report that the a proposal for a Community Service Award framework will be forthcoming to the full Commission for review, that a PR&E Facebook page is under discussion, and an On-Air presentation with KFAI radio is scheduled for Sunday, May 6 at 10:00 A.M.
Standards and Procedures: Gallagher and Nelson share that S&P had no official business to report but will meet again on April 19, 2012.
League of Minnesota Human Rights Commission: Commissioner Nelson reports that the League is updating its Facebook, Twitter and Webpage accounts in an effort to build a statewide calendar of human rights related meetings and events.
Commission Chair report: Froehle provides a summary of the Appeals Committee composition, sharing that it is a three member panel composed of at least one Commission Attorney that has revolving terms of two months as a panel alternate followed by two months as a panel member until next assigned. It is intended that all members of the Commission will have an opportunity to serve on the Appeals Committee at least once during their respective term(s). Froehle requests that Commissioners report back to her regarding what issues and types of outreach are important to them in their respective roles as Minneapolis Civil Rights Commissioners.
Staff Lee Zutz provides a PowerPoint presentation on accessing and navigating the Civil Rights Department and Civil Rights Commission webpages.
Public Comment: Kenneth Brown comments on the current status and proposed composition of the Complaint Investigations Unit and Civilian Review Authority. Mr. Brown requests that the Commission get more involved in the current process to reorganize this function of the City.
Adjournment at 6:49 PM: Moved Thompson; Second McHugh, Approved.
Last updated Apr. 17, 2012