Brooklyn Center Mayor Gets City Hall Office
After much debate and discussion, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott now has an office inside Brooklyn Center City Hall. The mayor has pushed for an office since the beginning of the year.
In a city that’s home to 32,000 people, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott is kept busy with things like meetings and public appearances.
“Usually my days are taken up largely by this role, and most weeks it’s seven days a week,” Elliott said.
Elliott was first sworn in to the mayor’s role in January. For much of that time, he says he’s had to take meetings to coffee shops or restaurants.
“Sometimes it’s really great to be able to do that, to meet folks there,” Elliott said. “But it puts a kind of pressure on both the person you’re meeting with and yourself to always be buying stuff.”
That’s just one reason why Elliott wanted an office at City Hall where he could conduct business in a more professional setting. He pushed the matter in a February council meeting.
“A city the size of 32,000 people, your mayor needs a place where they can sit down and do email and call residents and have folks come and meet with them,” he said.
Elliott officially got his wish during the Sept. 23 Brooklyn Center City Council meeting, but it wasn’t met with unanimous approval.
Concerns over the mayor’s office and a ‘Perception of Power’
“What we need to do, each of us, is run within our own lane, work together as a body, rather than try to project the mayor’s office as strong mayor, but that the mayor is a part of a team,” Council Member Dan Ryan said during the meeting.
Some council members are concerned that a designated mayor’s office creates a perception of power for Elliott. Brooklyn Center has a system where the mayor and council share power, and the mayor acts as a ceremonial leader.
“I think it’s mostly a misinterpretation of intention,” Elliott said, when asked about the perception. “And for me, I’m really clear. There are so many other cities that have the same system and the mayor has an office, take Columbia Heights for example.”
But that’s not necessarily the case in the northwest suburbs. CCX News found that eight cities in our viewing area do not have an office solely for mayors at their city halls. Golden Valley did allow such an arrangement, but the mayor in that city never used it, and made it available for other uses.
In Columbia Heights, the mayor does currently have an office in city hall. The city hall used to share space with the police department, but when the police department moved out a few years ago, a number of unused offices opened up. There will not be a dedicated mayor’s office as part of the new Columbia Heights city hall, which is scheduled for construction next year.
Elliott, however, believes it’s a necessary part of his elected role.
“I invite residents or anyone who wants to schedule a meeting with the mayor to go ahead and call into City Hall,” Elliott said.
And while the Brooklyn Center City Council voted to approve the mayor’s office, it came with the condition that they have a work session to discuss the issue further.