Dave Bicking has stopped the reappointment of Susan Segal as city attorney.
Bicking has been a longtime opponent of the city attorney.
He challenged her decision to allow the city to give a New Jersey racketeer hundreds of millions of dollars to build a sports stadium when she knew the will of the people of Minneapolis, expressed in two separate amendments to the City Charter, demanded that we have the right to vote on whether city money should be used to build a sports stadium.
He has challenged her refusal to prosecute police officers for use of excessive force. She stopped Communities United Against Police Brutality’s proposed charter amendment to require police to carry personal liability insurance from reaching the ballot.
And, now, Dave Bicking has stopped her.
He wrote to the City Clerk Casey Carl: “I believe the actions of the Executive Committee on Feb. 20, 2018, are invalid based on violations of the Executive Committee Rules:
“Not Enough Votes Rule 7. [Motions, Voting] says in the last sentence, ‘Three affirmative votes are required for Committee action.’ The vote on the motion to reappoint the city attorney was as follows:
“• Aye: Frey and Bender (2)
“• Abstain: Gordon and Johnson (2)
“• Absent: Jenkins (1)
“As there were only two affirmative votes; no valid action was taken by the Executive Committee to refer the city attorney reappointment to the City Council. This means that the City Council, at its Friday, Feb. 23, meeting, did not have the authority to act to refer the reappointment to the Enterprise Committee for a public hearing on March 1.”
Bicking told Southside Pride: “I just got off the phone with Casey Carl. Briefly, he agrees. The Executive Committee was not successful in taking action, and will need a do-over. They are not cancelling tomorrow’s public hearing because it would be unfair to people who didn’t hear about that. BUT, there will be a continuation of the public hearing later, if and when the Executive Committee actually votes correctly.”
The problem of the Vikings stadium is illustrative of the basic problem with the current conception of the Office of City Attorney: Does she work for the mayor and City Council or does she work for us? Yes, they hire her, but her oath of office is not to swear allegiance to them, it is to protect the public welfare and defend the Constitution and the City Charter. She is supposed to work for us.
For the city attorney to ignore the City Charter and the clear wishes of the citizens of Minneapolis and to instead cater to the whims of elected officials is a serious dereliction of duty. But, in the end, that’s really only money, and we’ll probably all survive that.
Jamar Clark and Terrance Franklin did not survive the assault on their basic civil rights. The officers who killed these young men were never disciplined by the city after a criminal investigation of the events and police reports revealed serious police misconduct.
Mayor Frey’s home page on the city website says: “Finally, for Minneapolis to be a city that welcomes and cares for everyone, we have to begin the difficult work of repairing the relationship between our police department and the communities they serve and protect. For officers to keep our city safe, our entire community must trust that our police department will treat all of our residents with respect—regardless of race, class, or background. That mutual trust can only be built on a shared commitment to making our police department more accountable to the people they serve. Public safety, accountability, and trust are fundamental to the policing goals my administration will pursue.” (http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mayor/index.htm)
Mayor Frey should be congratulated for seeing the problem. A major part of the problem is that Lt. Bob Kroll, the head of the Police Federation, the leader of City Heat—a motorcycle gang of police officers in the Twin Cities that has a fascination for Nazi medals and Confederate flags—and the target of a lawsuit by black police officers (that included now-Chief Arradondo) for racist discrimination, is recognized by the major media in this town as the head of the police department.
The mayor has an opportunity to make the City Attorney’s Office a place where citizens can come to complain about violations of their civil rights with the trust that the city cares enough about them to protect them from abuses—from anyone, including the MPD.
If Frey wants to restore trust in the city and the MPD, then the City Attorney’s Office is the place to start.
Dave Bicking told Southside Pride there will be “a special meeting of the Executive Committee on Monday, March 5, at 10:15 a.m. We have also heard from Cam Gordon that they are planning to hold the (supposedly proper) public hearing two days later, on Wednesday, March 7. Apparently, the intent is to achieve passage at the Friday, March 9, meeting of the full council.”