Brooklyn Center Council Votes to Hire Project Coordinator to Help Implement Police Reforms
The Brooklyn Center Council approved hiring a project coordinator for an implementation committee that will work on police reforms. The position will report to the mayor, coordinate public informational sessions, and oversee a timeline for reforms following the police shooting of Daunte Wright.
In May, the Council passed a plan to make reforms to the city’s police department following the police shooting of Daunte Wright. Some of the changes involve officers only issuing citations for low-level offenses and authorizing unarmed civilians to respond to minor traffic violations. Another one of the reforms included creating an implementation committee, chaired by the mayor, to help put reforms into practice.
The project coordinator’s job was approved by the city council in a memorandum of understanding.
According to council documents, the position reports directly to the Mayor and will coordinate projects for the implementation process for the Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety & Violence Prevention Act. It will help develop the scope of work and timelines for the committee’s work. The coordinator would also build relationships with stakeholders, make presentations and complete public outreach projects.
How the position would be funded wasn’t immediately clear. Mayor Mike Elliott mentioned federal grant money that the city had already been awarded.
“I’m optimistic that [the position] will move the things forward that we want to move forward and improve communication,” said council member April Graves.
The council approved the project coordinator position in a 3-2 vote.
Council member Dan Ryan, who voted against adding the position, expressed concerns that this new person would report directly to the mayor, which is not how the city’s government was designed. The city manager is usually the only position that reports to the council, and all other city staff report to the city manager.
“For us to erode the council manager form of government might sound like it’s in the weeds and it’s standing up for something obscure,” said Ryan. “But we are also setting a precedent for the future.”
Council member Kris Lawrence-Anderson, who also voted against adding the position, expressed concerns that there wasn’t a sunset clause on the position, but Mayor Elliott said the council could act at any time to end it.
The Council also considered adding the position of a policy and administrative aide for the mayor.
Mayor Elliott has made this request before, and says the need was only amplified after the police shooting of Daunte Wright.
“I think I probably aged a good decade just in those few months. This job is extremely stressful,” said Mayor Mike Elliott. “There’s a lot of pressure I get to deal with as an $1,000 a month mayor.”
The addition of the policy aide for the mayor failed on a 2-3 vote.
Council members voting against the aide said the position was unprecedented for a mayor of Brooklyn Center and too expensive.