Citing ‘separation of powers,’ Frey vetoes City Council requests for data on encampment clearings

Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed two items passed by the Minneapolis City Council meant to study the impact of clearing homeless encampments as well as the extent of police involvement.

The mayor’s office said on Wednesday the vetoes were “due to a technical error in the way the actions were written.” Mayor Frey said that he will sign the actions once they align with the new government structure.

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During a Minneapolis City Council meeting on Oct. 20, members directed the Race, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Department as well as the Office of Performance and Innovation to provide data on health, safety and fiscal analyses on the forced removals of homeless encampments.

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The Minneapolis City Council also directed both departments to analyze the role of law enforcement during camp evictions. The goal was to “develop recommendations for non-police or minimal police involvement” for future encampment clearings. Members also voted to include recommendations from different city departments in the planning and execution of future encampment closures. All these recommendations were to be presented to the Committee of the Whole by the end of this year, according to the meeting agenda.

Mayor Frey’s office said in a news release that these actions were written in a way that showed council members instructing departments that are under the city’s executive branch.

“Under the new government structure, such an action must be directed to the mayor, who is then responsible for directing City resources to conduct the work,” the release states.

Mayor Frey said in the veto letters that the directive “does not comport with the separation of powers in our government structure under Charter and ordinance, and I am committed to working together so that the request complies with the law.”

The two veto letters are almost identical. They can be found here and here.