In yet another example of elected officials considering raising their own pay, members of the Minneapolis Park Board have discussed increasing their annual stipend from $12,438 to $30,000 to attract more diverse candidates and reflect the work involved in serving on the nine-member board.
read more at the Star Tribune
This week at the meeting of Park Board Commissioners there will be a discussion item on the regular board agenda about of all things, constituent services. This should be of interest to the public because they include in the discussion description some interesting things.
- Should they be able to hire staff to assist them with constituent services? No, why do they need more staff? The commissioners are suppose to work with the Superintendent, the Deputy Superintendent and the 3 Assistant Superintendents to solve constituent issues. Maybe if more of them had attended the orientations offered they would know where to go….
A) Trouble with something like lawn mowing, plowing or trash pick up….that would be the Assistant Superintendent for Environmental Services (Jeremy Barrick)
B) You have rude coach, unpleasant rec center staff, lack of field access…that would be the Assistant Superintendent for Recreation (Tyrize Cox)
C) You aren’t sure when one of your parks is due new playground equipment or why the construction at your rec center is delayed… that would be the Assistant Superintendent for Planning (Michael Schroeder)
D) You want to know how much is spent on community engagement in your area, how to know if the folks running the concessions at Columbia Golf are paying their contracted fees to the MPRB, or if Juneteenth is going to happen or if they have defaulted on paying the MPRB … that would fall under the Deputy Superintendent (Jennifer Ringold) and finally
E) If it is a legal question or something you don’t feel falls into one of the categories above, contact the Interim Superintendent Mary Merrill. She should be able to get people to pick up their phones.
2. Should the commissioners have a budget to hold meetings with their constituents? No, again this is part of community engagement that the park board already budgets for annually. Problems at East Phillips with the needs of your Hispanic constituents and soccer. Bring in the translators, print up some flyers in Spanish, partner with Waite House and invite other commissioners and senior staff to join you. Want to meet constituents for a talk. There is an office provided for all 9 of the PART TIME commissioners to share at the MPRB headquarters. You can schedule a larger meeting room at the HQ with the customer service staff or my favorite meet at a local park, the staff can schedule you a room. If all else fails coffee shop meetings put dollars back into the local community, but the MPRB and the taxpayers should NOT have to pay for your espresso.
3. Other: Having heard that some of the commissioners thought they would be getting their own offices and staff like at City Hall I wonder if any of them did the research as to what this job entails. Did you pick up the phone and ask one of the outgoing commissioners? Did you ask anyone at the Park Board? Did you not feel that there would be some work you would have to do to earn your $12,440 per year? You also can turn in mileage and parking of up to $200 a year and let’s not forget your access to health insurance at a really good rate, the VEBA the MPRB pays you to cover most of your deductible, and the $13,000 life insurance policy your family gets to collect if you die in office. You also have to opportunity to put money into PERA (the public employee retirement system) a lot better deal than a 401(K) as the state doesn’t get to be let off the hook if the system makes bad investments.
Pay attention to this discussion taxpayers!!!!
It is with great sadness that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) learned of the passing of former Commissioner Annie Young.
Commissioner Young retired from the MPRB Board of Commissioners in December 2017, after serving as a Commissioner At Large since January 1990, making her one of the two longest-serving Commissioners in Board history.
“Annie’s passing is a huge loss to the Park Board and the City of Minneapolis,” said MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller. “Her commitment to our park system, to the environment and to programs and services for children and young people helped us to become the number one park system in the country that we are today. She will be deeply missed.”
During her 28-year tenure, Commissioner Young was a champion of the environment. Young’s efforts to promote and develop environmentally beneficial approaches to operations and recreation activities throughout the park system included championing solar energy initiatives and the Clean Water Partnership, as well as an Integrated Pest Management Plan that led to a 95% reduction in the use of chemicals and pesticides in parks during her time as a commissioner.
She also championed stewardship of the Mississippi River, and the parkland along it, including supporting restoration of the historic Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park, which today are among the most-visited gems within the park system.
Young was also committed to programs and services for children and young people and was one of the visionaries who helped create the Teen Teamworks youth employment program.
In 2017, Commissioner Young was honored by resolutions from both the Minneapolis Park Board and the City of Minneapolis acknowledging her contributions, commitment, hard work, initiative and creativity in service.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has lowered flags on park properties to half-mast until January 31 to honor Commissioner Young.
Young’s family has asked for privacy and time to grieve their loss. Memorial service arrangements are pending.
The 2018 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board goes to a final vote at City Hall on Wednesday December 7th. The truth in taxation hearing is prior to the vote and takes place in council chambers starting at 6:05pm. If you would like to comment sign up as you arrive with the City Clerk. The recommended budget can be found here.