Minneapolis names new director of Civil Rights Department

The city of Minneapolis on Tuesday named a new director of its Civil Rights Department.

Michelle Phillips will begin her new role on Monday, the city said.

She previously served as the inaugural Inspector General for the city of Oakland, CA, and as a Deputy Inspector General in Baltimore.

The city parted ways with the previous director of the department, Alberder Gillespie, in February.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained an email from Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Gillespie’s former supervisor, to Frey stating that a staff member in the civil rights department expressed several concerns about the office and Gillespie, and Anderson Kelliher believed that Gillespie “poses an immediate threat to the City’s ability to fulfill its responsibilities as outlined under the MDHR Settlement Agreement.”

Anderson Kelliher’s message to Frey noted that she has “additional concerns,” but her recommendation for firing Gillespie was based mainly on issues in Gillespie’s department. Those issues noted in Anderson Kelliher’s message included failures in working with and providing data to those within the department for several months, including the attorney’s office and the city’s embedded attorney, and a large backlog in police review cases.