Minneapolis City Council

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Minneapolis City Council
Coat of arms or logo
Lisa Bender, DFL
since January 8, 2018
Andrea Jenkins, DFL
since January 8, 2018
Majority Leader
Andrew Johnson, DFL
since January 8, 2018
Minority Leader
Cam Gordon, Green
since January 3, 2006
Minneapolis City Council composition.svg
Political groups
  •   DFL (12)


CommitteesSee Standing Committees
Instant-runoff voting
Last election
November 7, 2017
Next election
November 2, 2021
Meeting place
Minneapolis City Hall (15622665867).jpg
Minneapolis City Hall
350 S Fifth St.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415

The Minneapolis City Council is the legislative branch of the City of Minneapolis. It consists of 13 members, elected from separate wards to four-year terms. The Council is dominated by members of the DFL (the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party), with a total of 12 members. The Green Party of Minnesota has one member, Cam Gordon.


Council chambers in 1900
Council meeting in 2015

The city has never had more than 13 wards, but at one time there were three representatives from each area, for a total of 39 members of the City Council. The City Council assumed its current size in the 1950s.

Minneapolis has an ordinance, adopted in 2003,[1] that directs local law enforcement officers "not to 'take any law enforcement action' for the sole purpose of finding undocumented immigrants, or ask an individual about his or her immigration status."[2]

The Minneapolis City Council represents the city's thirteen districts called wards. The city adopted instant-runoff voting in 2006, first using it in the 2009 elections.[3] The council has 12 DFL members and one from the Green Party.[4] Election issues in 2013 included funding for a new Vikings stadium over which some incumbents lost their positions.[3] That year, Minneapolis elected Abdi Warsame, Alondra Cano, and Blong Yang, the city's first Somali-American, Mexican-American, and Hmong-American city councilpeople, respectively.[3][5][6]

The City Council passed a resolution in March 2015 making fossil fuel divestment city policy.[7] With encouragement from city administration, Minneapolis joined seventeen cities worldwide in the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance. The city's climate plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent in 2015 "compared to 2006 levels, 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050".[8]

In 2018, the city council passed the Minneapolis Comprehensive 2040 Plan and submitted it for Metropolitan Council approval. Watched nationally, the plan rezones predominantly single-family residential neighborhoods for triplexes to increase affordable housing, seeks to reduce the effects of climate change, and tries to rectify some of the city's racial disparities.[9][10] After the Metropolitan Council approved the plan,[11] in November 2019 the city council voted unanimously to allow duplexes and triplexes citywide.[12] The Brookings Institution called it "a relatively rare example of success for the YIMBY agenda" and "the most wonderful plan of the year."[13]

Controversial incidents[edit]

In July 2001, DFL Council Member Brian Herron pleaded guilty to one count of felony extortion. Herron admitted to accepting a $10,000 bribe from business owner Selwin Ortega who faced numerous health and safety inspection violations at his Las Americas grocery stores.[14][15] Herron served a one-year sentence in federal prison.[16]

On November 21, 2002, ten-year DFL Council Member Joe Biernat was convicted of five federal felony charges, one count of embezzlement, three counts of mail fraud, and one count of making a false statement.[17] Biernat was found not guilty on extortion and conspiracy to extort charges.[18]

In September 2005, Green Party Council Member Dean Zimmermann was served with a federal search warrant to his home by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The affidavit attached to the warrant revealed that the FBI had Zimmermann on video and audiotape accepting bribes for a zoning change.[19] Zimmermann subsequently lost his re-election campaign, and was convicted in federal court on three counts of accepting cash from a developer and found not guilty of soliciting property from people with business with the city. Zimmermann was released from prison in July 2008.[20]

In 2009, Council President Barbara A. Johnson was accused of misusing campaign funds for personal spending. An administrative hearing was held January 26, 2010.[21] The administrative judges at the hearing dismissed six of the eight charges; it upheld two charges—that AAA services were paid for both her and her husband's vehicle and that not all charges for hairstyling or dry cleaning were reasonably related to the campaign. Johnson paid a $200 fine for these violations, the lowest fine possible.[22]

In 2015, DFL Council Member Alondra Cano used her Twitter account to publish private cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses of critics who wrote about her involvement in a Black Lives Matter rally.[23]

In 2020, after the death of George Floyd, city council leaders announced a plan to amend the city's charter and remove the requirement for the city to hire a police department, replacing this department with a broader public safety agency. [24] The City Council was then discovered to have been utilizing private security at a cost of $4,500 per day for three of their members.[25]

Electoral system[edit]

In 2006, Minneapolis voters approved the use of the single transferable vote for its municipal elections. The first use of ranked-choice voting was in the 2009 municipal election. However, since the City Council uses single-member districts, the single transferable vote functions the same way as instant-runoff voting.[26] This system of voting is commonly known in the United States as ranked choice voting.

Each member's term is four years, and there are no limits on the number of terms a member may serve.


As of 2018, all Council Members are paid a base salary of $98,696 annually, plus mileage, free parking, and the usual employee benefits. Their base salary is scheduled to increase by $10,000 every year through 2022..

Members, 2018–2021[edit]

Lisa Bender, Minneapolis City Council Member to the 10th Ward and newly elected Council President, at the organizing meeting of the Council.
Ward Name Party First elected Neighborhoods
1 Kevin Reich DFL 2009 Audubon Park, Columbia Park, Como, Holland, Logan Park, Marshall Terrace, Northeast Park, Waite Park, Windom Park.
2 Cam Gordon Green 2005 Cedar-Riverside, Como, Cooper, Longfellow, Prospect Park, Seward, University
3 Steve Fletcher DFL 2017 Beltrami, Bottineau, Downtown East, Downtown West, Marcy Holmes, Nicollet Island/East Bank, North Loop, St. Anthony East, St. Anthony West, Sheridan
4 Phillipe Cunningham DFL 2017 Cleveland, Folwell, Jordan, Lind-Bohanon, Shingle Creek, Victory, Webber-Camden
5 Jeremiah Ellison DFL 2017 Harrison, Hawthorne, Jordan, Near North, North Loop, Sumner-Glenwood, Willard-Hay
6 Jamal Osman DFL 2020 Cedar-Riverside, Elliot Park, Phillips West, Seward, Stevens Square, Ventura Village
7 Lisa Goodman DFL 1997 Bryn Mawr, Cedar-Isles-Dean, Downtown West, East Isles, Elliot Park, Kenwood, Loring Park, Lowry Hill, Stevens Square
8 Andrea Jenkins DFL 2017 Bancroft, Bryant, Central, Field, King Field, Lyndale, Northrop, Regina
9 Alondra Cano DFL 2013 Central, Corcoran, East Phillips, Longfellow, Midtown Phillips, Powderhorn Park
10 Lisa Bender DFL 2013 East Calhoun, East Harriet, Lowry Hill East, South Uptown, Whittier
11 Jeremy Schroeder DFL 2017 Diamond Lake, Hale, Keewaydin, Northrop, Page, Tangletown, Wenonah, Windom
12 Andrew Johnson DFL 2013 Ericsson, Hiawatha, Howe, Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park, Standish
13 Linea Palmisano DFL 2013 Armatage, East Harriet, Fulton, Kenny, Linden Hills, Lynnhurst, West Calhoun

Standing Committees[edit]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City Council on March 27, 2020, reorganized its committee structure, suspending its existing committees and creating two committees in their place.[27] The stated goals of this restructuring are to be more flexible and responsive during the city's public health emergency, give city departments more time to plan and prepare agenda items to be presented to the City Council, and expedite processing and publication of City Council decisions.[28] These changes are intended to be in effect for the duration of the public health emergency.

On May 22, 2020, the City Council revised its committee structure to enable the previously suspended Budget Committee to meet as needed.[29] On August 28, 2020, the City Council further revised its committee structure, adding a new committee and enabling the previously suspended Transportation and Public Works Committee to meet again.[30]

Committee[30] Chair Vice-Chair
Budget Linea Palmisano Steve Fletcher
Business, Inspections, Housing, and Zoning Lisa Goodman Jeremy Schroeder
Policy and Government Oversight Andrea Jenkins Jeremiah Ellison
Subcommittees Equity Jeremiah Ellison
Finance Steve Fletcher
Public Health and Safety Phillipe Cunningham Steve Fletcher
Transportation and Public Works Kevin Reich Lisa Bender
Suspended committees
Committee of the Whole Andrea Jenkins Phillipe Cunningham
Subcommittee Race Equity Andrea Jenkins Phillipe Cunningham
Economic Development and Regulatory Services Lisa Goodman Jeremiah Ellison
Elections and Rules Jeremiah Ellison Lisa Bender
Enterprise Linea Palmisano Alondra Cano
Housing Policy and Development Cam Gordon Jeremiah Ellison
Intergovernmental Relations Andrew Johnson Andrea Jenkins
Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement Phillipe Cunningham Cam Gordon
Public Safety and Emergency Management Alondra Cano Steve Fletcher
Ways and Means Steve Fletcher
Zoning and Planning Jeremy Schroeder Kevin Reich

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hirsi, Ibrahim (November 23, 2016). "What the conflict over 'sanctuary cities' could mean for the Twin Cities". Minn Post.
  2. ^ Mullen, Mike (November 14, 2016). "Betsy Hodges: Minneapolis will remain a 'sanctuary city,' despite Trump threats". City Pages.
  3. ^ a b c Regan, Sheila; Coleman, Nick; Nelson, Kathryn G. (November 6, 2013). "Minneapolis Mayoral Election: Betsy Hodges Almost Claims Her Almost Victory; RCV Count Goes Slow". The Uptake. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  4. ^ Feinstein, Mike (July 15, 2013). "Key advances in Minneapolis elections". Archived from the original on June 2, 2006. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  5. ^ Turck, Mary (November 6, 2013). "Election results updated: Hodges in as mayor; Cano, Yang, Palmisano win city council seats; St. Paul counts on Monday". TC Daily Planet. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Helal, Liala (November 8, 2013). "Voters bring more racial, ethnic diversity to Minneapolis City Council". MPR News. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  7. ^ McKenzie, Sarah (March 20, 2015). "City Council passes fossil fuel divestment resolution". Southwest Journal. Minnesota Premier Publications. Archived from the original on April 18, 2015. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  8. ^ McKenzie, Sarah (March 27, 2015). "City joins international alliance committed to curbing greenhouse gas emissions". Southwest Journal. Minnesota Premier Publications. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  9. ^ "City Council approves Minneapolis 2040 plan". Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. December 7, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  10. ^ Grabar, Henry (December 7, 2018). "Minneapolis Confronts Its History of Housing Segregation". Slate Group. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  11. ^ Wan, Elder (September 26, 2019). "Minneapolis' 2040 plan wins Met Council approval". VOXMN. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  12. ^ Otárola, Miguel (November 8, 2019). "Minneapolis moves forward with allowing triplexes citywide". Star Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  13. ^ Schuetz, Jenny (December 12, 2018). "Minneapolis 2040: The most wonderful plan of the year". Brookings Institution. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  14. ^ http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/www/groups/public/@council/documents/webcontent/convert_276560.pdf
  15. ^ Demko, Paul (October 10, 2001). "City council member Brian Herron's disgrace left a vacuum in his Minneapolis district". City Pages. Archived from the original on July 15, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  16. ^ "Feds Indict Minneapolis City Councilman & Union Boss". UNION CORRUPTION UPDATE. National Legal and Policy Center. April 29, 2002. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
  17. ^ "Criminal Enforcement Actions 2002". Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). United States Department of Labor. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  18. ^ Williams, Brandt (November 21, 2002). "Minneapolis councilman convicted on five fraud charges". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
  19. ^ "FBI says it has Zimmermann on tape accepting bribe". KARE. September 10, 2005. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  20. ^ Brandt, Steve (July 10, 2008). "Back from prison 'sabbatical'". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  21. ^ Brandt, Steve (December 21, 2009). "Mpls. council president faces hearing over campaign spending". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  22. ^ "Warren E. Kaari v. Barbara Johnson" (PDF). Findings of Fact, Conclusions and Order. Office of Administrative Hearings. Retrieved February 14, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano under fire for posting phone numbers, e-mail addresses of constituents". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  24. ^ Neale, Spencer (26 June 2020). "Minneapolis City Council advances plan to disband police". Washington Examiner. Washington Examiner. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  25. ^ Lyden, Tom. "Minneapolis Council members get private security after threats". Fox9. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  26. ^ "How the 2009 RCV Election Works". City of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  27. ^ "Resolution No. 2020R-093" (PDF). Minneapolis City Council. March 27, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  28. ^ "Proposal to restructure the Minneapolis City Council and its Operations" (PDF). Minneapolis City Council. March 27, 2020. p. 3. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  29. ^ "Resolution No. 2020R-147" (PDF). Minneapolis City Council. May 22, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  30. ^ a b "Resolution No. 2020R-236" (PDF). Minneapolis City Council. August 28, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°58′38″N 93°15′56″W / 44.97722°N 93.26556°W / 44.97722; -93.26556