Mayor Frey caps historic 2022

December 29, 2022

Mayor Jacob Frey and the City of Minneapolis have had a historic year. For the first time in over 100 years, the City has a new government structure in place that is both responsive and durable and provides efficient, effective, and equitable government services.  

Over the past year, the mayor has worked with the City Council to shape a new form of government, which includes a new Office of Community Safety. The mayor has also recruited top talent to serve in the new administration. In August, Frey hired Dr. Cedric Alexander, a national leader in Community Safety work, to serve as the first Community Safety Commissioner and following a nearly year-long search process, the mayor tapped Brian O’Hara to serve as the Minneapolis Police Chief.  

The mayor also worked with City department leadership to allocate $271 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, proposed a biennial budget for the first time, and signed four Executive Orders. Additionally, the mayor’s efforts to preserve and create affordable housing continued, with multifamily housing unit permits for new construction up by 92% year over year in Minneapolis. 

As 2022 comes to a close, the mayor is maintaining focus on his core priorities for the new year – building more affordable housing, improving community safety, and driving an inclusive economic recovery.  

“This has been a monumental year in Minneapolis, and one for the history books,” said Frey. “Between establishing a new government structure, setting up the Office of Community Safety, and seeing a continued, record-pace increase in affordable housing production – we are setting our city up for success for many generations to come. We have weathered an incredible storm these last few years, but the comeback is underway, and our city is on strong footing. It takes every department and every staff member working together to do this critical work, and I am proud of the team we have at the City of Minneapolis. We are looking forward to the work ahead in the new year.”

New Government Structure Established 

  • For the first time in over 100 years, the City of Minneapolis has been successful in changing its government structure. The new structure includes an integrated Office of Community Safety, a new Office of Public Service, and a Race Equity, Inclusion & Belonging department – among other changes. 
  • The new structure, as adopted by voters in 2021, formalized the City’s administrative operating structure under the mayor’s authority, including three executive positions that will serve as a mayoral cabinet to help in organizing and managing the day-to-day work of the City – City Attorney, City Operations Officer, and Community Safety Commissioner.

Office of Community Safety (OCS) 

  • Led by the City’s first Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander, OCS integrates the departments responsible for safety to improve communication and align response services. This structure allows the commissioner to set individual department goals, as well as cross-functional goals to enhance the cooperation among all safety departments on a daily basis 
  • The five departments reporting directly to the commissioner include the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Department (911), the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Emergency Management Department, and the Neighborhood Safety Department. 
  • The new Chief of Police, Brian O’Hara, was sworn in on November 7, 2022.  
  • In addition to moving the Behavioral Crisis Response program into the new Neighborhood Safety department, the mayor invested $1.45 million into the program in 2023 and proposed $2.9 million in 2024, helping provide 24/7 unarmed, mental health professionals as responders in behavioral health crisis situations – bringing the ongoing annual investment in this work to over $6.4 million by 2024. 
  • The first coordinated initiative out of OCS was Operation Endeavor which includes OCS departments, local, state, and federal law enforcement, and community outreach partners. Since launching in September, this coordinated effort to combat violent crime in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas has generally shown that crime is down across the board compared to the same time last year.  

Mayoral Executive Orders 

  • When Minneapolis voters decided to change the structure of the City of Minneapolis government last fall, the mayor became the chief executive officer with general executive and administrative authority. With that change, the mayor is now able to issue Executive Orders for the first time to provide direction, clarity, or instruction within the City administration. 
  • Mayor Frey signed four Executive Orders in 2022 including: EO 2022-01 designating Minneapolis as a safe haven for reproductive rights, EO 2022-02 vesting duties and responsibilities to the Community Safety Commissioner, EO 2022-03 vesting duties and responsibilities of City Coordinator as Interim City Operations Officer, and EO 2022-04 designating Minneapolis as a safe haven for gender-affirming healthcare.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding and 2023-2024 Biennial Budget  

  • The final round of ARPA investments was approved this year, bringing the total to $271 million allocated in Minneapolis. Over the past year, these funds have allowed the City of Minneapolis to move forward with purpose and urgency. 
  • In August, Mayor Frey delivered his budget address and proposed a biennial budget for the first time, covering both 2023 and 2024. In December, his 2023 budget was adopted, totaling $1.66 billion in 2023 and $1.71 billion in 2024. The tax levy increase for 2023 will be 6.5% and is projected to be 6.2% for 2024. 
  • The mayor’s budget includes significant investments in the Office of Community Safety and the Office of Public Service – in addition to continued funding and commitment for affordable housing projects, inclusive economic recovery work, and expansions to climate and public health initiatives. The mayor’s budget also includes intentional staffing plans under the new government structure.   

Affordable Housing 

  • HousingLink reported in September that multifamily housing unit permits for new construction are up by 92% year over year in Minneapolis. The City’s Way Home Report shows that Minneapolis has been producing deeply affordable units (30% AMI or less) at almost five times the annual average before 2019. 
  • The City, in partnership with Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Minneapolis Public Schools, Hennepin County, Pohlad Family Foundation, and YMCA of the greater Twin Cities launched Stable Homes Stable Schools in April 2019. Through Stable Homes Stable Schools, families experiencing homelessness or housing instability receive rental assistance and support so their children can thrive in school. In the first two years of this partnership, 3,214 children in 1,129 families have been served – including services such as three years of rental assistance and support designed to help them move toward self-sufficiency and school success, and/or one-time emergency funds and other support as needed for families at risk of eviction. 
  • The City and County, together with state, nonprofit and philanthropic partners, have fundamentally reshaped the homelessness response system since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Together, the City and County invested more than $200 million in the homelessness response system, including 3 new shelters and significantly expanded outreach and services for people experiencing homelessness. 
  • The City accepted a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to improve housing conditions for families with moderate and low incomes, focused in the Near North and Powderhorn communities – addressing 29 different hazards in  homes including getting rid of lead paint, cockroaches, mice, and asthma triggers; adding handrails and radon mitigation systems; and weatherizing.

Climate Action 

  • Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Minneapolis, in addition to six other cities from Europe and the United States, will receive support to adopt Stockholm’s 2014 Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge Winning Biochar Project. This $400,000 project will turn wood waste, such as tree limb from parks and homes, into a charcoal-like substance that residents can then use in their yards and gardens to help combat climate change by sequestering CO2 emissions. 
  • The Evie Carshare and EV Spot Network program launched – adding 70 new EV charging stations throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul across a 35-mile radius, increasing public charging capacity by 50%. The carshare network was the first 100% renewably-powered and municipally-owned carshare in the country. 
  • Mayor Frey allocated $1 million ARPA funds to expand the urban tree canopy as part of the Green Minneapolis Climate Resiliency Initiative. This funding will help add 200,000 trees to the Minneapolis canopy by the year 2040 – this will be in addition to the existing 600,000 trees under current Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board management. The mayor’s 2023 budget also added a full-time tree coordinator position for the City.

Economic Inclusion 

  • Acting on his Inclusive Economic Recovery Workgroup’s recommendations, the mayor successfully secured an additional $2 million in new Commercial Property Development Fund (CPDF) funding for 2023. The CPDF has provided significant financing to 20 commercial property development projects since Mayor Frey first pitched it in 2019.  Mayor Frey and Council President Andrea Jenkins kicked off the City of Minneapolis’ second annual Black Business Week in July. This week-long event brought residents, business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and leaders together to focus on Black economic development and inclusive economic recovery. 
  • In December, Mayor Frey announced his new Vibrant Downtown Storefronts Workgroup. The group will analyze current storefront space, along with local and national trends, to consider how to reinvent the storefront experience at both the street and skyway levels.   
  • The mayor continued his investment in youth recreation with a $2.6 million annual investment in the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. This investment will facilitate access to enriching and productive opportunities for youth – especially at-risk youth.

New MPD Policies and Reforms 

  • Police Records Restructure: All data requests – including police and any other City business – are now initially processed by a team from the Office of the City Clerk. Five full-time employees from MPD’s Records and Information Unit were moved to the City Clerk in February 2022 to handle the increased volume of requests.  
  • Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) training: This data-driven program, developed in partnership with Georgetown University Law, emphasizes police officer intervention and provides training to officers from agencies across the country to deliver the ABLE curriculum. This curriculum was incorporated into the MPD academy at the end of 2021 and started being delivered on an ongoing basis in March 2022. 
  • No-Knock Warrant Prohibition: Under the new policy, there is a prohibition on the application for, and execution of, all no-knock (unannounced) search warrants within the City of Minneapolis. MPD will also no longer request no-knock search warrants or respond to no-knock search warrant requests on behalf of other jurisdictions. The new restrictions make Minneapolis’ policy among the most forward-looking and extensive in the nation. The policy makes significant changes and restrictions for both the application for and execution of search warrants, while adding additional layers of accountability to the review process following issuance of a search warrant. 
  • Limitation of Hours Worked Policy: The policy limits the number of hours a police officer may work to 74 total hours each week – and the number of consecutive hours worked to 16 total hours in a day. An emphasis on rest and wellness was a key component in building out this new policy which also requires at least 8 consecutive hours off for every 24 hours worked and requires employees have at least one full 24-hour day with no work shifts in any capacity each week. 
  • Updated MPD Discipline Matrix: The updated matrix reflects a new framework that guides disciplinary decisions in support of a system that is fair, consistent, and transparent and recategorizes and clarifies levels of discipline for policy violations dependent upon the facts and circumstances of each case and is responsive to the changing practices in policing. Additional new changes to the updated matrix include adding an entire violation section to clearly identify policy violations that warrant termination and explicitly spelling out a range of discipline for each violation level.