Minneapolis City Council delays city coordinator vote pending HR investigation

The Minneapolis City Council announced Thursday a delay in the confirmation process to find a permanent city coordinator due to an ongoing city human resources investigation in the office.

A group of City Coordinator’s Office employees earlier in the week raised allegations of an ongoing “toxic” work environment inside one of the most powerful offices at City Hall.

The CCO handles a variety of projects including supervising federal programs, large city-wide events, City Council-driven activities and the Minneapolis Convention Center.

“I think what we experienced in the public hearing on Tuesday was unprecedented for this institution — to see so many staff speak up on the conditions on what it’s like to work here,” City Council Member Elliott Payne said.

Mayor Jacob Frey nominated interim city coordinator Heather Johnston to fill the role permanently but needed council approval. She’s been in the role for nine months.

“Culture change takes time and cannot be done by one person,” Johnston told the council earlier this week. “I do want to continue to work changing systems and develop a culture that’s inclusive, innovative, anti-racist, and equitable for all of our employees.”

Frey told the council Johnston has a very strong resume for the position, dedicating “her whole life to public service.”

“I support an investigation so that we can get to a specificity of fact here,” Frey said regarding the city’s HR department investigation into the CCO. “The truth is that I have not heard many specific allegations against Heather Johnston.”

The council voted to delay action on a possible vote for a couple of weeks.

A Minneapolis spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there will not be a comment from Johnston on Thursday.