So you’ve heard about the city council, and you’re interested in learning more about it. But you’re not sure where to start? Here are some things you might want to know about the Minneapolis City Council.
It’s made up of elected officials and lobbyists
The thing about the Minneapolis City Council is that it’s made up of actual elected officials and not just hired guns. There are more than twenty-five council members, and most are registered to vote in the city. There is, however, one exception — the DFL’s city manager, who is not a registered voter in the city. That’s because the city manager is selected by the city council, and the city council selects the city manager. The city council has, for the most part, chosen the city manager in all but limited instances — most notably, it has alternated between John Ritchie and Paul Agronski as city manager since 1999.
It’s a bit bureaucratic
The main thing to keep in mind about the Minneapolis City Council is that it’s made up of actual elected officials. There’s no “go-to” person who could handle everything, so it’s made up of twenty-five elected officials who are bound by ethics and law to follow proper procedures. But there are also a few so-called rules that aren’t followed by most. For example, members of the city council are not reimbursed for their travel expenses, but are instead reimbursed for the cost of In-Linked-D ( Inkd ). That means that if a member of the city council wants to go to Las Vegas, but his or her family is on a business trip and he or she doesn’t have the cash to get thierself there, the member of city council can reimburse himself or her for the cost of In-Linked-D.
It makes great noises
Finally, the Minneapolis City Council is a bit bureaucratic. In fact, the only thing that’s really made noises out of the council — aside from the occasional squawk or two from the mayor — is a big budget request from a developer. The developers’ fund, which has grown from a few hundred dollars to more than a quarter of the city’s total budget in the last decade, is a source of great irritation to the city council.
It has a small budget
The biggest thing to keep in mind about the Minneapolis City Council is that it’s made up of actual elected officials. That budget is usually around $50,000, but depending on the type of meeting and event you’re interested in, it can be as low as $30,000 or even less. That budget is usually tied to the specific event, but the general rule is that it’s not too shabby when it comes to the budget. As of this writing, the city’s 2018 budget was just over $50,000, and it was about half that amount because of a federal grant that helped fund the event. Again, that’s around $50,000, and there’s no way to know how much that is until the event is over. So it’s not too shabby either.
The council is chosen at-large
The Minneapolis City Council is a council that is chosen at-large. That means that the members are all veteran city council members who have served in different capacities under various mayors and city council members. They are all Republicans, and they have served with little debate or opposition. The fact that the Minneapolis City Council is at-large is actually pretty unusual. Most cities have a special opt-in system where the members of the council are chosen at-large. And most of the time, the city council is selected at-large. That means that the entire council is chosen based on party affiliation, with the Republican part of the council serving as a tie-breaker. But sometimes, like when the mayor is running for another term and the Democratic senators are in their third term, the only other option is for the entire council to be chosen at-large.
The Council debates all the time — don’t worry, you won’t hear any criticism from us here!
The Minneapolis City Council debates all the time. That means that there is definitely going to be criticism, even if you don’t necessarily expect it. It’s one of the best things about the job — debate and transparency are key. You’re probably going to see a lot of your favorite personalities on the council, and you’re going to hear a lot of different points of view. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule of constant discussion — like the time the council rejected a motion to expand the city’s liquor license — but most of the time, the discussion is limited to the issues that are at stake. The only times that you’re going to hear any serious discussion about the budget, taxes, or the state government are when the members are being chosen for the council. That’s when you’re likely to see real debate about the budget and taxes, which are subjects that are not only discussed but agreed to by all the members on the council.
Final thoughts: What do you think?
The Minneapolis City Council is made up of real elected officials, and they are always Debate Club — or at least they were when they were in office. They have been playing that game ever since Democrat Paul Soglin was elected mayor in 2011. The only thing that has changed is that the current mayor, Tom Berdine, is a Republican, and the members of the council are now all members of the DFL Party. As with most things, this is a city that is going to be lucky if it ever manages to avoid a mayoral run in the near future. The City Council will be lucky if it ever can match that.