Another proposal surfaces to change city power structure

A fresh proposal to change city power structure has made its way to the Minneapolis Charter Commission for an examination on Jan. 4.

The proposal calls for a seven-member City Council, with members only eligible for two, two-year terms. Residents would elect the police chief, city attorney, city coordinator and mayor to four-year terms. Residents would also elect 14 planning commissioners, with two coming from each of the seven wards.

The proposal is known as a charter amendment. The Minneapolis Charter Commission, made up of 15 members appointed by the chief judge of Hennepin County, would need to approve the amendment and hold a public hearing before it would go to a ballot in a city election.

Under the current city charter, residents elect 13 city council members and the mayor to four-year terms. The police chief, city attorney and city coordinator are appointed by the mayor.

The proposal was brought forth by a group called Power by the People. That group’s attorney, Rachel Nelson, originally listed Martha Schiller as chair, but on Dec. 27 notified the city that Luna Al Qutob is the chair. 

Power by the People’s proposal says it is a political action committee, but as of Dec. 27 it had not registered with the state’s Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board.

The Star Tribune reported that Basim Sabri is involved in the proposal. Sabri is a developer who spent 19 months in federal prison after being convicted on three counts of bribing a city council member.

Sabri did not immediately return a phone message today. Power for People lists its address at 207 E. Lake St., a property owned by Sabri.

Originally, the group had proposed a five-member city council, but has refined its request to seven members.