St. Paul City Council Member Amy Brendmoen plans to take over as council president, a key role that involves organizing council priorities, running meetings and working closely with the mayor’s office.
Brendmoen, who has been a council member for six years, announced Thursday that she will take over the post held by Russ Stark. He will remain on the council but said it was time for a change in leadership. The City Council will vote on the change next week, but Brendmoen said she has talked to all the council members and expects unanimous support.
Stark has been at the helm of the council for three years and said the role comes with a lot of responsibilities that make it difficult to tackle big projects.
He has been involved in early discussions of raising the minimum wage and said he would like to focus on that issue and bicycle and pedestrian safety.
“One can be good at something and not always enjoy it,” Stark said of the council president job, and he knew Brendmoen was interested in a new challenge and approached her about it a while ago.
The time-consuming position involves preparing to manage council meetings, Stark said, and the Chris Coleman administration would come to him first to discuss ideas before bringing them to the rest of the council.
Coleman said in a statement Thursday that Stark has been a trusted partner on projects like the Green Line light rail. Brendmoen, who has led the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority, pushed for affordable housing and has a “genuine passion for making St. Paul a city that works for everyone,” Coleman said.
Brendmoen, whose ward includes Como, the North End and Payne-Phalen, said she plans to focus on neighborhood economic development.
She will move into the new role the first week in January, the same week Mayor-elect Melvin Carter is sworn in. With a new administration there will be a surplus of ideas and projects, and Brendmoen, who was a Carter supporter, said she will have to “curb the enthusiasm” to fit the budget.
Council Member Rebecca Noecker, who was elected two years ago, will become vice president. Brendmoen said she would like to elevate that role and looks forward to partnering with Noecker.
“She’s quickly emerged as a leader on our council,” Brendmoen said. “We’re a great team and she always pushes and challenges me to stay on my toes and question why we do things.”