Mayor Frey convening experts, community partners for Government Structure Work Group

November 18, 2021

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has formed the first of three external work groups focused on developing recommendations responsive to his administration’s transition priorities. The three groups will be dedicated to the new government structure, community safety strategies and reform, and inclusive economic recovery.

The government structure work group will be co-chaired by Kathleen O’Brien and JJ Haywood. O’Brien served for eight years as the City Council Member for Minneapolis’ Second Ward and another eight years as the Minneapolis City Coordinator. Haywood is the Chief Executive Officer at Pizza Lucé and has also been on the board of the Minnesota Restaurant Association—among others—since 2009 and was named the organization’s restaurateur of the year in 2018.

“Minneapolis has a generational opportunity to transform its local government and, most importantly, improve service for every resident in every neighborhood,” said Frey. “The decisions we make in the next several weeks will impact our city for decades to come. By bringing together experts with a broad range of experience, community partners, and a host of leaders with diverse opinions, we are setting the stage for the rigorous research and debate that the important decisions ahead deserve.”

The government structure work group will meet for the first time next week and will deliver its recommendations to Mayor Frey by early next year.

“This is a pivotal moment in Minneapolis history, and it’s critical that local officials prioritize effective government in this restructuring process,” said O’Brien. “Our work group will examine best practices from around the state and country as we undertake this important work, and we thank Mayor Frey for his commitment to good governance throughout this process.” 

O’Brien, a Minneapolis resident, also held leadership roles at the University of Minnesota, including as the Vice President of University Services under President Emeritus Robert Bruininks and as Chief of Staff to former University President Emeritus Nils Hasselmo. She currently serves on a variety of boards and committees, including at St. Catherine University and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

“Minneapolis voters have spoken and now it is time to put those words and ideas into action in a meaningful way that reflects the more modern realities of our City,” said Haywood. “I am eager to lend my voice to this group, to bring the community’s voice forward and build a new form of Minneapolis government that is more aligned with today’s residents, businesses and civic institutions.”

After earning her master’s degree in public policy, Haywood spent 10 years managing business operations in college and universities on the East Coast and for the past 20 years she has led Pizza Luce's growth from 2 to 9 locations. She has served as a Small Business Revolution expert for two seasons, most recently working with the Taste of Rondo Bar and Grill located in St. Paul.

During the transition period to his second term, the three groups will meet regularly and deliver a series of recommendations for the mayor’s consideration during his second term.

The full list of confirmed participants in the government structure workgroup is available here: 

  • Kathleen O’Brien, Vice President of University Services, University of Minnesota (retired), formerly Council Member and City Coordinator for City of Minneapolis
  • JJ Haywood, CEO, Pizza Luce
  • Jay (Jay) Kiedrowski, Senior Fellow, Hubert H. Humphry School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota
  • Pat Born, CFO, City of Minneapolis (former)
  • Barry Clegg, Charter Commission, City of Minneapolis
  • Myron Frans, Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations, University of Minnesota
  • Tim Marx, President Emeritus, Catholic Charities
  • Kim Nelson, Board Director, Colgate-Palmolive, Cummins Inc., and Tate & Lyle
  • Pahoua Yang Hoffman, Senior Vice President of Community Impact, Minnesota Foundation
  • Robert Lilligren, President and CEO, Native American Community Development Institute