Ward 11 Newsletter

CM Koski



Greetings Ward 11,

Last week, the City Council voted to reject a plan by Mayor Frey to use $15.3 million of the $19 million in one-time public safety aid from the State of Minnesota for sign-on and retention bonuses for Minneapolis Police Department staff. It’s important for you to hear this directly from me, nothing is more important to me than the safety of our communities, and that includes steadfast and ongoing support for our police officers.

Here’s why I support a different approach:

  1. Data has not been provided that shows sign-on and retention bonuses are effective as a sole solution. And this was the sole solution that was brought forward to address recruitment and retention of our officers with this State funding.
  2. There are a variety of urgent public safety needs in our city and spending over 80% of available State funds on a program with no proven outcomes is a reckless use of scarce taxpayer dollars.
  3. The Mayor repeatedly refused to listen to Council Members concerned with his recommendation of how to use the State funding. Ultimately, he presented it to us anyways with little time for additional questions or oversight.

I am, and will continue to be a reliable supporter of our police officers. I believe they need to be paid more. I believe we can do more culturally to make our Minneapolis Police Department a place where officers want to work. And I look forward to working with Commissioner Barnette and Chief O’Hara on strategies that will actually improve public safety. My distinct hope is that the Mayor and his administration can come to the table and collaborate with us.

For those of you who have written to me about this topic, I thank you. Hearing from the residents of our city is crucial to ensuring I am representing you well. I’m including my response to residents below that gives a bit more detail on the week, what happened, and why I took the position I did.

As always, it’s an honor to represent you and Ward 11. Thank you for your trust in me.

In Gratitude,

Digital Email Signature

Table of Contents:

Council Member Koski's Response to Tentative Letter of Agreement between City and Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis

As your Ward 11 Council Member, I support our Police Department, our Police Department staff, and want our Police Department staff to receive a fair contract as a part of full negotiations with permanent pay raises, performance based bonuses, and incentives tied to actual motivators.

Last week the Mayor and administration brought forward a tentative Letter of Agreement between the City of Minneapolis and the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. The tentative Letter of Agreement was negotiated by the Mayor and administration, and promised $15.3 million of the $19 million in one-time public safety funds from the State to sign-on and retention bonuses to the Police Department in exchange for a contract amendment that shortens the timeline for filling vacancies by 2 ½ weeks. This is separate from, and in addition to, the full contract negotiations between the City of Minneapolis and Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.

What this means is that the Mayor and the administration went ahead and promised the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis money from a specific funding source they did not have authority to use yet.

I spoke with the Mayor and administration multiple times, raising concerns about the timeline, the subject matter, and how it was likely to be received. I strongly encouraged them to wait and bring forward the tentative Letter of Agreement at the Budget Committee meeting on December 5, 2023 and have conversations and briefings with Council Members before then to make their case. I was also hoping by then they could lay out all the options they had considered when planning how to spend the $19 million funding and help us understand why this specific use rose to the top of all other considerations.

However, the Mayor and administration refused to wait. Even though many Council Members were preparing their own proposals for this funding through our formal budget amendment process. These proposals were due to me as the Chair of the Budget Committee, on Wednesday, November 15, just one day after the tentative Letter of Agreement was first pushed for a vote.

I was disappointed that the only proposal presented by the Mayor and administration last week uses the majority of the public safety funding solely on sign-on and retention bonuses instead of a suite of strategies that will urgently address our public safety crisis. I was also disappointed the presentation given did not lay out all or any other uses the Mayor and administration had considered when deciding how to best use the $19 million from the State.

I am prepared to support investments in proven recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies for the Minneapolis Police Department. But, all the information available, clearly, conclusively shows that bonuses do not work as a tool to increase staffing levels. We need a comprehensive plan that tests and uses a number of recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies. We need to be thinking strategically and distinguishing ourselves and our offers from other jurisdictions, all while cultivating a strong culture and work environment. We cannot just continue doing the same thing over and over again all the while expecting different results – we need better, we deserve better.

Now is the time for us to think holistically and broadly about a transformative public safety plan for this $19 million in one-time funding from the State that actually improves safety and supports our police officers. There are all kinds of options in front of us: Mental Health Crisis Responses, Victim Services, Training Programs, First Responder Wellness, Equipment related to Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, Community Engagement and Gun Violence Prevention Programs.

There are also a variety of other ways to support recruitment and retention efforts in addition to sign-on and retention bonuses for our officers, and frankly for all of our first responders. Options could include increasing our successful Pathways Program, increasing professional development and training opportunities, and funding homeownership, education and relocation assistance. We could also be investing in specific recruitment campaigns focused on women who currently only make up roughly 12% of our officers.

I did not approve the Letter of Agreement because this vote was about how to best keep our communities safe while also best utilizing the $19 million in one-time funding from the State. Police are one part of that equation. They are not the sole solution to keeping our communities safer. And for far too long we have put the weight of that all on their shoulders.

This vote was not about saying sign-on or retention bonuses should never be part of a way to compensate our officers. This vote was about saying you cannot use $15.3 million from this funding source alone.

We now have the opportunity to work together with Council Members, the Chief, and the new Commissioner of the Office of Community Safety to use this State funding in a variety of strategies to both recruit and retain officers AND increase public safety in our City.

Ward 11 Public Safety Meeting

The next Ward 11 Public Safety Meeting is on December 12, 2023 from 7:00 PM-8:30 PM at Pearl Park Recreation Center (414 E Diamond Lake Rd, MPLS, MN 55419).

This Ward 11 Public Safety Meeting will feature the new Commissioner of Community Safety, Todd Barnette.

Ward 11 Public Safety Meeting (Logo)

Ward 11 Small Business Spotlight

Cosmo Nails

Cosmo Nails

5454 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419

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Shop at Cosmo Nails this holiday season! Cosmo Nails Owner, Tien Tran is offering 10% all services including gift cards promotion from November 28th through December 12th, show this newsletter to redeem the offer.

Mayor Frey nominates Margaret Anderson Kelliher as City Operations Officer

Mayor Jacob Frey has nominated Margaret Anderson Kelliher as the city operations officer. Anderson Kelliher has held top roles for the Minnesota House of Representatives and Department of Transportation. She currently leads the City’s Public Works Department.

As city operations officer, Anderson Kelliher would oversee the Office of Public Service. The office has 17 departments including:

  • The 311 Service Center.
  • Regulatory Services.
  • Race, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging.
  • Community Planning & Economic Development.

She would also lead thousands of employees Citywide to ensure high-quality, coordinated services.

Anderson Kelliher has served as the City’s Public Works director since February 2022. She has led City infrastructure projects including:

  • Street reconstruction in downtown and north Minneapolis for the Upper Harbor Terminal project.
  • Safety and transportation needs on East Lake Street.
  • The overhaul of the City’s stormwater tunnel system.

The City Council will consider the nomination at its Nov. 16 meeting.

Read more about the nomination and role on the City website.

Mayor Frey nominates Erik Hansen as Director of Community Planning & Economic Development

Mayor Jacob Frey has nominated Erik Hansen as director of the City’s Community Planning & Economic Development Department. Hansen has served as its interim director since June. Before that, Hansen worked as the department’s director of Economic Policy & Development for five years and has served 12 years as a principal policy coordinator for the department.

As the City’s director of Economic Policy & Development, Hansen helped design and implement the City’s Ownership and Opportunity Fund. Throughout the pandemic and the aftermath of civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd, Hansen led economic recovery work and steered millions in emergency relief funds to residents and small businesses. Hansen served for more than three years as the Economic Development & Housing director for the City of Brooklyn Park. He oversaw tax base stabilization and growth through neighborhood preservation, housing programs, redevelopment, workforce development and real estate activities.

The City Council will refer the nomination to its relevant committee for consideration.

Read more about Hansen’s nomination the City website.

City Accepts $3.7M Personal Guaranty for Roof Depot Site

The City of Minneapolis has accepted a $3.7 million personal guaranty as proof of East Phillips Neighborhood Institute’s ability to pay its share of the $11.4 million purchase price of the Roof Depot site in south Minneapolis. This personal guaranty met the Nov. 8 deadline outlined in the purchase agreement approved by the City Council Sept. 7.

The sale of the site to East Phillips Neighborhood Institute is not yet final.

The City looks forward to the State of Minnesota satisfying its commitment from May to provide $2 million to the City as a good faith deposit, which was due July 15. The Legislature must also provide another $5.7 million to the project in 2024 to satisfy terms.

If all terms of the purchase agreement are satisfied, the sale of the site is scheduled to close on or before July 15, 2024.

The City is dedicated to finding a new water supply maintenance facility and will explore other locations for this project. The Minnesota Legislature has committed $4.5 million to the City for a new facility.

Read more on the City website.

Winter Farmers Markets Begin

Winter market season began this month in four locations around the city. Farmers Markets of Minneapolis operate year-round with markets mainly operating outdoors.

Local produce is fresh, nutritious and affordable. Most of the markets accept SNAP-EBT (“electronic benefits transfer”) cards as payment, as well as Market Bucks and Produce Bucks, which combined provide $20 more for healthy food to market shoppers using SNAP-EBT.

In 2022, customers at the Farmers Markets of Minneapolis redeemed more than $350,447 in Market Bucks, Produce Bucks and SNAP/EBT, showing expanded access to fresh, healthy food for Minneapolis residents who experience food insecurity and receive federal food assistance. Sixty-two percent of market vendors donated leftover produce to hunger relief programs in 2022.

Find winter market schedules and locations.

Foster Homes Wanted for Shelter-Shy Dogs

Minneapolis Animal Care & Control is introducing a foster program to help local dogs find a forever home. The partnership allows dogs struggling in a shelter environment to stay in a foster home instead of the shelter while under Animal Care & Control’s care.

To apply to help with this foster program, contact Minneapolis Animal Care & Control. Minneapolis Animal Care & Control and Secondhand Hounds provide supplies, mentorship and community.

Find information about fostering animals, adopting animals, volunteering, and supporting Animal Care & Control on the City website.

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TTY users can call 612-263-6850. 

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