Yesterday, the Executive Committee decided to reject the current terms of the proposed lawsuit settlement presented by her attorney and directed the City attorney to begin the process for removing Fire Chief Bleskachek as Chief of the Fire department. The first step to do this is to formally notify the Cheif of our intention.
This decision was the result of one of the most intense, focused and serious meetings I have participated in since taking office. It took place during a closed meeting (closed because we were discussing confidential personnel matters) of the Executive committee over the course of nearly 4 hours. Even though it was a meeting of the 5 person Executive Committee, all 13 Council Members, as well as the Mayor, attended. We all listened carefully to staff reports, asked questions, engaged in earnest discussion and worked hard to come consensus about what the best next steps should be.
In the end, all five of the other Committee Members: Mayor Rybak, Council President Johnson, Council Vice President Lilligren and Council Member Bensen, agreed with the two motions I ended up making. I made then, in part, because we were able to build a consensus around them, but also because I was convinced some formal action was needed and that these two steps were the right steps to take on behalf of the people of Minneapolis.
Our primary concerns concerns centered on maintaining the excellent level of Fire Department service we have in Minneapolis, stengthening public trust, protecting public dollars and improving the morale of all Fire Department employees.
My fear is that we may still be a long away from the end of this matter, but I think we took a good next step and remain hopeful that might be resolved soon.
You can find a description of the process for firing and demoting City staff here.