Work Group recommendations

Read the details of the Government Structure Work Group recommendations.


The passage of Charter Amendment No. 184 indicated, Minneapolis residents:

  • Voted for an Executive Mayor system of government 
  • Designated the Mayor as the executive leader of the City enterprise.

Changes to the Charter and Code of Ordinances and organizational structured will be needed.

The Mayor gave the Government Structure Work Group these 3 charges.

Charge 1

Recommend operating structure and appropriate resources that will enable the mayor to perform the charter-prescribed leadership roles in municipal policy, executive management, and community representation.

We recommend Mayor Frey establish an operating structure with the necessary resources to ensure our city government delivers city services equitably to the people of Minneapolis and provides a city that is safe, just, clean, healthy, and well-managed.

To achieve these objectives, we recommend the Mayor appoint:

  • A City Operations Officer (COO) with relevant professional expertise and experience to ensure proficient day-to-day operations and performance of the city departments. The COO must be delegated the requisite responsibility and authority to be successful and be held accountable. The COO focuses on enterprise operations and would direct the department heads in the day-to-day operations of the city on behalf of the mayor. This new position, as a city officer, will need to be appointed in the same process as city department heads, meaning the COO would be nominated by the mayor and with city council approval.
  • A Chief of Staff (COS) to the mayor with experience and expertise in inclusive decision-making and policy development and implementation to ensure the Mayor has access to the people, constituencies, elected leaders, nonprofit and business organizations and the information to assist in decision -making and the consistent operation of the Mayor's office. The COS focuses on supporting the intrinsic functions only performed by the Mayor. As a member of the mayor's staff, the COS would not require city council approval.

The COS and COO will work in alignment with and on behalf of the Executive Mayor. These roles assist the Mayor in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the office and getting the work of the city done efficiently, effectively and equitably. The mayor as the City's Executive oversees the department heads. They operate at his or her direction and all serve on the Mayor’s Cabinet. While daily management is delegated to a City Operations Officer, the Mayor, depending on priority projects, policy issues and operational needs, should engage directly with department head(s) when needed.

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Charge 2

Provide informed options based on comparable jurisdictions, best practices, and the law as to how systems can be implemented to foster and support an effective relationship between the Mayor and the City Council in their official capacities as the City's executive and which respect the separate and distinct roles and responsibilities under the “Executive Mayor-Legislative Council” structure. 

After reviewing systems in multiple jurisdictions, best practices, and the law, we are presenting three informed options. We considered and ruled out a City Manager Option. It is not consistent with the intent of Charter Amendment 184 that stipulated an elected Executive Mayor. 

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Option 1

Government Structure Recommendation: Option 1: Mayor - Deputy Mayor

Not Recommended, Mayor - Deputy Mayor

Create a new position of Deputy Mayor who:

  • Reports to the mayor
  • Is responsible for both policy decision-making and coordination and operation and management
  • Oversees the Mayor’s Office and the mayor’s departments
  • Anyone hired to be Deputy Mayor requires city council approval.

Option 2

Option 2: Mayor – Chief Operating Officer – Mayor’s Chief of Staff

Mayor - Chief Operating Officer - Chief of Staff

Create a new position of City Operations Officer (COO) who:

  • Reports to the mayor
  • Oversees all department heads for operations and management of all the operating departments. Mayor can still interact with department heads on policy decision-making and coordination and during crises.
  • Anyone hired to be COO requires city council approval.

The mayor’s Chief of Staff (COS) also reports to the mayor (not the COO), assists the mayor in carrying out policy decision-making and coordination duties, and manages the mayor’s staff.


Option 3

Government Structure Recommendation: Option 3: Multiple Reports to the Mayor

Multiple Reports to the Mayor

The mayor has multiple reports, including City Operations Officer (COO), Chief of Staff (COS), and selected departments that the mayor believes must be direct reports for policy decision-making and coordination reasons

  • Selected departments are part of the Mayor’s Cabinet
  • COO assists the mayor in management of the selected departments
  • COO and other administrative officials are subject to city council approval

Charge 3

Provide informed options for how the City's Administration, under the Mayor's leadership, can support and respond to the City Council with respect to its official legislative, policy-making and oversight functions.

The Executive Mayor-Legislative Council structure establishes a balanced form of government.

  • The mayor is responsible for the executive and strategic leadership of the city and the successful operation of the City enterprise.
  • The council is responsible for:
    • Defining the legislative functions of City government.
    • Representing the constituents in their respective wards.
    • Approving and authorizing critical funding actions (the annual operating and capital budgets, authorizing debt, setting the tax levy). 
    • Providing oversight of financial and performance audits.

We recommend Mayor Frey establish standard procedures within City departments to:

  • Enable the city council to perform its duties and responsibilities. 
  • Encourage collaboration among the elected leadership of the city.

As stated in the city charter, the mayor will provide the required financial resources and city department information and expertise to support council members in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. To realize the full potential of the City of Minneapolis, it is critical that the mayor and city council sustain a collaborative and productive working relationship.

To encourage a constructive dynamic between the two bodies, we recommend Mayor Frey appoint a City Council Liaison who resides in the Mayor's Office (reporting to the Mayor’s Chief of Staff). The City Council Liaison’s role is to:

  • Provide clear, ongoing communications with council members and their staff.
  • Serve as a resource to ensure the mayor is knowledgeable about City council issues, concerns, and opportunities. 

Additionally, we recommend Mayor Frey consider negotiating agreed upon ways of working with the city council to ensure the right level of engagement and mutual accountability.

In addition to the working relations with the city council, we believe it is important to present options for how the existing city attorney and city coordinator roles might evolve in the new Executive Mayor - Legislative Council Government Structure.

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