City officials to select new civil rights director

Minneapolis is once again looking to fill one of its leadership positions, with the focus this time on finding a permanent director for the Department of Civil Rights.

Michael Browne has served as interim director of the department since May, when Civil Rights Director Jayne Khalifa was tapped to serve as the new deputy city coordinator. The city is beginning the process of filling the position on a permanent basis, and Mayor R.T. Rybak's spokesman Jeremy Hanson said the mayor plans to announce his choice for the position in early February.

A committee of public officials and community leaders will advise the mayor through the selection process. The 17-member committee is charged with reviewing the job description for the position and advising any way it should be changed. Members of the group will also market the job opening, review submitted applications and make a suggestion to Rybak on top candidates they think should be interviewed for final consideration. Rybak's choice will have to be confirmed by the City Council.

The Department of Civil Rights is responsible for overseeing the enforcement of the city's civil rights ordinance and the Civilian Review Authority ordinance, according to the city's website. Its work includes investigating practices of discrimination and complaints of police misconduct, ensuring all city construction projects follow the goals of hiring women and minorities, and overseeing multicultural services. The department also provides speakers, videos, literature and other materials about civil rights issues.

&#8220As the primary enforcer of our strong standards and the values supporting fairness and justice, the civil rights director is an important public leader in our city,” Rybak said in a prepared statement. &#8220It is essential that the community know, trust and respect this person to lead our civil rights work.”

Before being appointed as interim director of the Department of Civil Rights, Browne served as director of enforcement and community outreach for the department. In that position, he was responsible for assisting Khalifa with day-to-day department management.

Members of the mayor's civil rights director advisory committee:

- Richard Howell, committee chair, Shiloh Temple

- Amy Johnson, Johnson Law

- Loan Huynh, Fredrickson & Byron

- Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-60)

- Hashi Abdi, Somali Action Alliance

- Andrea Rubenstein, Heddin, Goldberg & Gidden

- Margo Imdieke Cross, Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities

- Ian Bethel, Police Community Relations Council

- Bill Ziegler, Little Earth Community

- Councilmember Scott Benson (11th Ward)

- Councilmember Cam Gordon (2nd Ward)

- Anita Urvina Selin, Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission

- Matt Gladue, Twin Cities Labor and Religion Council

- Rosita Balch, Latino Community Advisory Committee

- Michael Weinbeck, Civilian Review Authority

- Doua Lee, Southeast Asian Community Council

- Sen.-elect Patricia Torres-Ray (DFL-62)