Special Forum: Minneapolis Government Structure Charter Amendment

Event Date: 
Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 11:00am

Humphrey School Senior Fellow Jay Kiedrowski will be joined by Professor and President Emeritus Robert Bruininks, a supporter of Charter for Change, for this special forum to discuss the proposed amendments to the Minneapolis city charter that will be on the ballot in November.

UMRA will hold a special forum on Tuesday, September 21, to discuss the proposed amendments to the Minneapolis city charter that will be on the ballot November 2 (early voting starts September 17).

The primary focus will be the amendment, initiated and unanimously supported by the Minneapolis Charter Commission, that proposes to establish a government structure that clearly defines and separates power between an executive mayor and a legislative council. Commission Chair Barry Clegg has described it as “probably the most important charter amendment that has come before the city in 100 years.“

This special forum, starting at 11 a.m. and replacing UMRA’s September Living Well Workshop, will be held via Zoom webinar. Please register and attend!

A government structure like no other
Minneapolis has never adopted a comprehensive city charter to govern the management of the city. In 1920, Minneapolis simply adopted all the state laws related to Minneapolis so it could qualify as a “home rule charter city.” Thus, Minneapolis government structure is like no other in the U.S. 

The proposed amendment would clarify and define the roles and responsibilities of the mayor as executive and the City Council as legislative, like the state and federal governments and other large U.S. cities. 

Proponents—including supporters of Charter for Change, a city-wide, non-partisan, grassroots group of Minneapolis residents—contend that the amendment would align authority with responsibility, increase accountability, and ensure city services are delivered more equitably. 

The amendment is opposed by some City Council members on the grounds that it would make city government less responsive.

University President and Professor Emeritus Robert Bruininks, a supporter of Charter for Change, and Humphrey School Senior Fellow Jay Kiedrowski, a former commissioner of finance and chief financial officer for the State of Minnesota and budget director for the City of Minneapolis, will present the history of Minneapolis city government, the current context, the pros and cons of the Government Structure Charter Amendment, and respond to questions.

They will also explain and be prepared to discuss the other amendments on the November 2 ballot in Minneapolis, including the Public Safety Charter Amendment, organized by the Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee, that proposes to remove the Minneapolis Police Department as a standalone department and create a new Public Safety Department.

Please register and plan to attend this special forum at 11 a.m. on September 21.

—Kathleen O’Brien, UMRA member, retired vice president for University Services, former Minneapolis city coordinator, and Ward 2 council member

Event Location: 
Event to be held via Zoom.
Publication date: 
August 19, 2021
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