Today, Mayor Jacob Frey’s government structure omnibus ordinance passed through City Council. This is the first time in over 100 years that the City of Minneapolis has been successful in changing its government structure. The new structure includes four direct reports to the mayor, an integrated Office of Community Safety, and elevates Race Equity, Inclusion & Belonging to a department level – among other changes.
In November 2021, Minneapolis voters approved the new form of government, which explicitly defined the mayor as the City’s chief executive officer and the City Council as the City’s legislative and primary policy-making body. Mayor Frey quickly convened his Government Structure Workgroup and charged them with researching and recommending government structure options that would work for Minneapolis. The workgroup researched three options and ultimately recommended two that they thought could work best. Mayor Frey chose the option of having multiple reports to the mayor and worked with City staff to draft the new structural reform. His proposed government structure went to the City Council for their consideration on March 22.
There have been a series of regular updates and presentations to the City Council, two City Council study sessions, a City Council markup session, City Council amendments, and a public hearing. Today, the City Council took its final vote on the omnibus ordinance, which passed with a 9-4 vote, officially creating the new government structure under the form voters chose last November. Mayor Frey has signed the Council action.
The omnibus ordinance formalizes 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.
“This is a historic moment for our city,” said Frey. “After 100 years and 17 failed attempts, today’s vote has defined our local government’s trajectory for generations to come. Minneapolis voters chose this form of government for our city, and it was up to us to create a responsive structure that is effective, efficient, and equitable in delivering city services to all residents. I’m grateful to the partnership of the City Council and to all City staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make today possible. I’d also like to thank my Government Structure Workgroup for their initial research and recommendations that laid the groundwork for our new structure.”
“After ten months of working together as a Council and with the Mayor, we have carried out the will of the residents of Minneapolis,” said Council President Andrea Jenkins. “Not only have we changed and shifted our entire government structure, but in doing so we’ve built out the kind of community safety and neighborhood safety departments that residents were asking for last year. Many have called this a strong mayor form of government; I see it more as a shared power form of government. We are setting forth a new direction in the city of Minneapolis - it’s a new day and I am proud to be a part of it.”
“Our actions today install a new level of clarity and accountability within our local government – the kind that residents deserve and should expect out of city hall,” said Council Vice President Linea Palmisano. “There’s been a lot of focus on how this new structure creates a strong Mayor, but let me be clear, it also empowers a strong Council and more importantly, a strong Minneapolis. This system encourages collaboration and I am looking forward to what we build under it.”
The four direct reports to the mayor include:
- The Chief of Staff will provide policy development and oversight on behalf of the Mayor’s Office.
- The Office of the City Attorney (CAO): Led by the City Attorney, the CAO will continue to include civil and criminal divisions, and is responsible for enhancing public safety, serving justice, and vigorously representing the interests of the City. Although housed on the executive side of government, the City Attorney will represent both the mayor and the city council equally.
- The Office of Public Service (OPS): Led by the City Operations Officer, seventeen departments will report to OPS, including all operational functions except safety services. Departments and core functions will include internal services; communications and engagement services; and development, health, and livability services. Departments whose functions primarily support the work of the enterprise, address community health and livability, foster racial equity, and administer performance management will comprise OPS. Those departments and divisions include: 311 Service Center, Communications, and Neighborhood & Community Relations; Arts & Cultural Affairs, Regulatory Services, the Minneapolis Convention Center, Community Planning & Economic Development, and Health, The Public Works Department, the Civil Rights Department, the Race Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Department, the Performance Management & Innovation Department.
- The Office Community Safety (OCS): Led by the Community Safety Commissioner, the OCS integrates the departments responsible for safety to improve communication and align response services. This structure allows a 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 this position include Minneapolis Emergency Communications Department (911), the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Emergency Management Department, and a Neighborhood Safety Department which includes the Office of Violence Prevention.
Now that the omnibus ordinance has passed, the mayor and City Council will collaborate on the mayor’s proposed 2023-2024 biennial budget to provide all new or reorganized departments and offices proper funding effective January 1, 2023.