KSTP Report on Charter Amendment

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

March 6, 2017 - KSTP Channel 5 News -

Proposal would dramatically change way Minneapolis City Council looks, operates

A proposal that has been brought forward in Minneapolis would completely change the way the City Council looks and operates which calls for reducing the number of wards and making some Council seats into at-large positions.

Currently, the city is divided into 13 wards of roughly equal population. A council member is elected from each of those 13 wards.

But Tom Basting has submitted a proposal to the charter commission looking to change that. "The school board and the park board already have six district seats and three at-large seats. This proposal would do the same for City Council."

"By going to a combined system, you maintain that ward focus," Basting said. "You maintain that ward analysis, ward interest. But you also add a number of at-large people that would have a city-wide focus."

The current 13-member Council dates only from modern times -- from 1953, to be exact. Prior to that, from 1891, each ward had two aldermen (as they were called then) -- making for a 26-member City Council. Voters approved a referendum in 1951 to change the Council's composition to one alderman per ward -- and to make each alderman's term two years. Term length was changed to the current four years in 1985. So folks who think that the current Council configuration is somehow carved in concrete are, well ... mistaken.

See full article with video here.

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