Council approves reappointments for Harteau, other department heads

The City Council voted to approve reappointments for eight department heads Friday, including Police Chief Janeé Harteau who drew the most scrutiny during recent public hearings.

Harteau, who has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for 30 years, was first nominated for police chief in 2012 by former Mayor R.T. Rybak when Tim Dolan announced plans to retire as police chief.

She has earned praise from Mayor Betsy Hodges and several other community leaders for her work leading reforms within the MPD, but Black Lives Matter activists and others have been critical of how she handled the protests at the 4th Precinct following the police shooting death of Jamar Clark on Nov. 15.

She has also faced criticism for how the city handles complaints about police misconduct.

The Council voted unanimously to reappoint the department heads with the exception of Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel. City Council Member Blong Yang (Ward 5) voted against her reappointment, citing concerns about allegations of a hostile work environment, among other things, in the department.

Yang voiced similar concerns two years ago when voting on Korbel’s reappointment.

Besides Harteau and Korbel, the Council approved mayoral reappointments for Fire Chief John Fruetel, City Assessor Patrick Todd, City Attorney Susan Segal, City Coordinator Spencer Cronk, CPED Director Craig Taylor and Health Commissioner Gretchen Musicant.