Mayor Frey’s Government Structure Work Group outlines options for implementing City’s new Executive Mayor-Legislative Council form of government

March 4, 2022

Mayor Jacob Frey’s Government Structure Work Group has outlined recommendations for implementing the City’s new Executive Mayor-Legislative Council system of government.

The work group has recommended two options for the mayor to consider for a new organizational structure:

  • The creation of a new city operations officer (COO) reporting to the mayor and responsible for managing operations across all City departments. This position must be confirmed by the City Council. The mayor’s chief of staff (COS) also reports to the mayor and assists the mayor in carrying out his policy/public duties and manages the mayor’s staff.
  • Multiple reports to the mayor, including a chief of staff, city operating officer and selected departments.

The overall goal of the new structure is to ensure strong, reliable management of the City operations that will now report solely to the mayor while ensuring the mayor has the support needed to attend to the executive responsibilities and significant public demands of the office, according to the work group’s report.

Mayor Frey convened the Government Structure Work Group in November 2021 after Minneapolis voters approved an amendment to the City Charter to adopt the Executive Mayor-Legislative Council form of government. The work group is co-chaired by Kathleen O’Brien and JJ Haywood. O’Brien, former vice president of the University of Minnesota, served eight years on the Minneapolis City Council representing the Second Ward and was the Minneapolis City Coordinator from 1994 to 2002. Haywood is the CEO of Pizza Lucé and has served on the board of the Minnesota Restaurant Association since 2009.

Mayor Frey plans to present his choice of the recommended options for a new organizational structure to the City Council on March 22.

“Minneapolis residents made clear that they expect our government to operate more efficiently and effectively,” said Mayor Frey. “This work group has dedicated time, talent, and resources to developing detailed options that once implemented can meet those expectations. I look forward to reviewing their work and collaborating with City Council and department leadership to achieve a government more responsive to the people of our city.”

“We know that our city has worked for some, but not for everyone. The inequities and needs in our city must be addressed.  We believe that the people of Minneapolis are united in wanting a city that is just, safe and well-managed; a city that works for everyone,” O’Brien said. “In our report, the Government Structure Transition Work Group makes recommendations that we believe will advance these goals.”

“The recommendations address Mayor Frey's charge and the principles he envisions to: clarify Minneapolis city government, provide a durable structure for the future, make it accountable, efficient, effective and be a responsive, transparent and accessible city government,” Haywood said. “They propose an operational structure with professional and policy leaders who will get the job of city government done. With the implementation of these recommendations, we believe Minneapolis city government can address the inequities, fulfill the needs and aspirations of its people and restore their trust.”