The city of Minneapolis’ separation agreement with former Police Chief Janeé Harteau passed its first hurdle on Wednesday, moving through the Executive Committee with the much-criticized non-disparagement clause removed.
The committee, made up of Mayor Betsy Hodges, Council President Barb Johnson and Council Members Cam Gordon and Kevin Reich, voted 3-1 to move the agreement along. Harteau resigned under pressure July 21. The deal pays her $183,000 through the end of 2018, which would have been the end of her term, plus 12 months of health benefits.
Johnson voted no, arguing that the council should keep the non-disparagement clause in so it will have the chance to discuss it more fully. The clause would have prohibited Harteau from saying anything negative about Hodges, the 13 members of the City Council and several city department heads, and would have prohibited any of them from saying anything negative about the chief.
“We were pulled into this action without any input whatsoever,” Johnson said. “We were the ones that got the phone calls, and I do think it’s important that we have an opportunity to discuss it.”
Hodges said there was no need to leave it in.
“I do think at this point not only the council but the public have had an opportunity to weigh in,” Hodges said. “I am amenable to take it out.”
Gordon and Reich agreed to take the clause out of the agreement.
“I think that the amended agreement here without the non-disparagement clause is what the council favors,” Gordon said.
The separation agreement goes to the city’s financial committee on Monday and is scheduled to go before the full City Council on Sept. 20.
Adam Belz • 612-673-4405