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Continued: Mayor Hodges, city council off to a raucous start in Minneapolis

  • Article by: MAYA RAO and ERIC ROPER , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Last update: January 7, 2014 - 7:22 AM

Cities have experimented with municipal minimum wages, but some believe that it would not be legal in Minnesota. The city attorney’s office would not comment on the legality when queried in October.

“Minimum wage is really a tough one, because cities in Minnesota don’t do their own minimum wages,” said Council Member Cam Gordon. “That would be a hill to climb. But I think we could push hard for the state minimum wage increase.”

Hodges said she could not commit Monday to supporting a city minimum wage, “but I do support raising the minimum wage certainly nationwide.”

New assignments

Despite a majority of fresh faces on the council and public advocacy for a new president, Johnson retained her title in a unanimous vote. Several council members had supported Elizabeth Glidden for the post, but she was instead elected vice president.

Glidden also will serve as chairwoman of the intergovernmental relations committee, which oversees the city’s legislative agenda.

Two new council members will chair committees under a new organizational structure, announced Monday, that also consolidates significant development and regulatory powers under one panel.

Most of the council’s work is done in committees, where members take testimony and make crucial decisions on development projects, ordinances and contracts. Committee decisions are rarely overturned by the full council.

Blong Yang, who represents the North Side, will chair the public safety committee. Lisa Bender, who has a background in urban planning, will chair zoning and planning.

Lisa Goodman won more power under the new structure. Goodman’s community development committee, which oversees the use of housing funds and steers economic development initiatives, now includes regulatory services.

That brings with it significant authority over inspections and business licensing, covering everything from landlords to nightclubs.

Other winners in the new committee structure are John Quincy, who will chair the city’s budget committee; Kevin Reich, who will chair the transportation and public works committee, and Cam Gordon, who will chair health, environment and community engagement, a new committee.

Other council members will chair committees that meet at irregular intervals. Andrew Johnson will chair the information technology policy subcommittee, Abdi Warsame the taxes committee and Jacob Frey the elections committee.

 

Maya Rao • 612-673-4210

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732



 

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  • Seven brand-new City Council members and six existing ones were sworn in Monday morning in the packed City Hall rotunda downtown.

  • After Betsy Hodges was sworn in as mayor, she vowed to ensure members of all racial groups thrive: “When we get that right, we will become a beacon.”

  • A crowd filled City Hall’s rotunda Monday for the swearing-in ceremony and the new mayor’s speech.

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