District 3 in 2016




Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 is off to a good start. As the year gets underway, I want to recap some of what got done in 2015 and let you know what is ahead.

Overview of 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you on the County Board. The public’s continued trust in the county’s regional leadership is reflected in our AAA bond rating. Here are highlights of 2015:

  • Stabilizing and strengthening children and families
    • I'm pleased to have led a suite of initiatives that provide needed social services to residents at a moment when the alternative may be to enter the legal system. By increasing family housing stability, providing key support for young wards of the state, and responding to mental illness with informed treatment instead of incarceration, we are building a community where everyone thrives. 
    • The County Board implemented a Child Protection Services Oversight Committee to oversee significant change in culture and renewed focus on best practices. As I continue as chair of the Health and Human Services committee in 2016, I look forward to the committee’s recommendations. Read more here.
  • Health and wellness for the entire community
    • I championed a ban on electronic cigarettes that aligns “e-cigs” with Hennepin’s Clean Indoor Air policy.
    • Hennepin hosted its first open data event, Geo:Code. The event received top honors from the National Association of Counties.
    • The Board adopted the 2040 Bicycle Transportation Plan, including more than 170 action items that address infrastructure, education, encouragement and evaluation.
    • The Board awarded Youth Sports grants for a fitness center at Washburn High School, and to St. Louis Park to support a recreation center and outdoor ice rink.
  • Hennepin County: an employer that leads the way
    • Starting January 1, 2016, the minimum wage for Hennepin County employees is $15 an hour. To quote a recent Southwest Journal article, “No single measure will close these racial and gender equity gaps like raising the minimum wage.”
    • The Board approved a policy to offer paid parental leave to Hennepin County employees. It was implemented in May, to rave reviews.

These bullet points begin to convey the breadth of the work the county does, and the work I have been up to. To find out more about what happened in 2015, take a look at the archived newsletters on my website at www.hennepin.us/greene.

What’s ahead in 2016?

When I first ran for office, I committed to you that I would work to bring opportunity to all corners of our community, with an emphasis on increased community engagement and interdisciplinary thinking, and with focus on health and early childhood. In 2016, I look forward to expanding this work. Here are a few highlights:

  • Introducing “The Greene Room”! 2016 will mark the start of a series of issue forums hosted by my office. These forums will reflect the current policy arena, build on candid analysis, and encourage creative thinking. The first forum will take place later this spring – stay tuned.
  • At my direction the county will initiate a pilot to increase access to banking services for our clients. By building assets in a well-designed account, residents have a financial safety net against unforeseen circumstances, are less susceptible to discriminatory or predatory lending practices, and save more money for themselves (as opposed to spending it on fees).
  • For the past 18 months Chair Callison and I, and our Ramsey County colleagues, have worked toward creating a joint residential treatment center for youth. Both the Hennepin and Ramsey boards unanimously approved the preliminary plans, and gave the green light to add detail to the proposal.
  • The number of fatalities and serious injuries on Hennepin County (and others’) roads, sidewalks, and trails continues to increase. In response to this, I will champion a safety coalition for Hennepin County which will provide a forum for safety discussions, develop strategies to address specific safety concerns, and develop safety projects collaboratively across the county in order to reduce this trend.

Thank you again for the opportunity to work for you. Please continue to be in touch with your views, priorities, ideas, hopes, and aspirations for our region. It is a privilege to serve you.

My best,
Marion Greene
Hennepin County Commissioner