Minneapolis City Council delays vote on police contract

The Minneapolis City Council announced Tuesday they will delay a vote on the city's police contract to allow more time for public comment.

During a vote Tuesday night, council members officially pushed back the vote.

"Our community wants to understand what’s in this contract," said Councilmember Elliott Payne who expressed skepticism of the contract, which would give veteran officers a nearly 22% pay increase by next summer.

City council members Robin Wonsley, Aisha Chughtai, and Jeremiah Ellison voted to delay approval of the contract Tuesday during the Administration and Enterprise Oversight Committee meeting.

"I’ve been very encouraged…but I’m left wondering if we’re getting our true value in this negotiation and the truth is today I don’t know," said Council member Ellison. "I have a few more questions for staff that I want to be able to consider."

Mayor Jacob Frey says there has been plenty of time for the council and public to weigh in, calling this the most transparent police contract negotiation in the city’s history.

"The entire contract has been available to view. There has been an unprecedented transparency," said Frey. "A delay is not the right move, especially right now."

Frey’s office said in the last year-and-a-half, they’ve held four community listening sessions to discuss the contract and five public negotiation sessions. In addition, they solicited the city council for feedback and published the contract for the public to view.

Chief Brian O’Hara expressed concern on Tuesday that a delay in contract approval sends a terrible message to the department. He worries it may cost them at a time when they can’t afford to lose more officers. 

The council could vote to approve the contract as soon as July 8. City staff said the council did not have the power to make modifications to the contract, and if they deny the contract in its current form, the city would have to return to arbitration with the police union.