The Minneapolis City Council on Friday reappointed Susan Segal as city attorney on a vote of 10-1, ending what has been a drawn-out confirmation process for the 10-year veteran as the chief legal authority at City Hall.
Segal was nominated for reappointment by Mayor Jacob Frey in early February, but some criticized her handling of police misconduct allegations and legal opinions about stadium subsidies. Segal’s reappointment fell into a procedural morass in late February.
At two public hearings, however, a broad range of people spoke on her behalf as a defender of women and someone who collaborates with communities of color.
The lone dissenting vote Friday came from Council Member Cam Gordon.
“I suspect I may be the only council member that’s voting no,” Gordon said. “Too often we err on the side of supporting the privileged, the wealthy, the well-to-do and keeping the systems going and the wheels grinding.”
He said the city should be doing more to stand up to banks, he wants to see more robust justifications for legal opinions Segal may disagree with, and he wants the city attorney to do more to protect people’s free speech.
“We can’t function as a government if we don’t protect people’s right to assemble and protest and be there, and maybe even stay a little bit too long at the IDS Crystal Court after a protest without thinking then that they’re going to be targeted and subject to prosecution.”
Council Member Linea Palmisano spoke next.
“I very respectfully but vehemently disagree with my colleague Council Member Gordon,” Palmisano said.
She noted Segal’s work to give text message reminders to people with court dates, a driver’s license diversion program that allows people to keep driving when they owe fines to the court, and her work on domestic violence and sex trafficking.
“I am honored that she wants to continue in this role and am proud to support her,” Palmisano said.
Council President Lisa Bender and Vice President Andrea Jenkins were absent.
Also Friday, the council unanimously approved the appointment of Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde as city coordinator. She had been the acting city coordinator after Spencer Cronk left in February for Austin.