The Potluck

Minneapolis mayor disciplined former police chief Medaria Arradondo for using city resources to oppose public safety proposal

By: - January 27, 2022 6:55 pm
Medaria Arradondo

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo speaking at a Wednesday, Oct. 27 press conference about the public safety ballot question.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey reprimanded former Police Chief Medaria Arradondo late last month for holding a press conference to oppose a public safety ballot question just days before the November election where the fate of the embattled police department was on the line.

Arradondo held the press conference during the day on Oct. 27 at a church, while dressed in his blues and standing in front of a wall plastered with Minneapolis Police Department logos. Eighteen people — including then-City Council President Lisa Bender — filed ethics complaints against him afterward.

Even though Frey also opposed the ballot proposal, he issued a letter of reprimand to the chief for using city resources to oppose the measure. Frey’s letter says Arradondo violated city policies barring the use of city social media sites to engage in campaigning for political campaigns and using city property, funds, personnel, logos or other city resources to engage in political activity. 

Chief Ethics Officer Susan Trammell had previously cautioned city officials not to use government resources for political activities. Since Frey had already disciplined Arradondo for the press conference and city employees can’t be disciplined twice for the same misconduct, Trammell dismissed the ethics complaint against the police chief for the press conference, and the city’s Ethical Practices Board affirmed her decision on Tuesday. 

In early December — after the November election but before receiving the letter of reprimand — Arradondo announced he would retire in mid-January rather than seek another term. Trammell said his departure was irrelevant because she made her decision while Arradondo was still an employee. Arradondo’s last day of work was Jan. 15.

The ethics board also dismissed another, separate ethics complaint against Arradondo dated Oct. 8, but Trammell said no information could be released about that complaint under state law. 

Arradondo could not be reached for comment.

The city ethics board also found no probable cause to believe a violation of the ethics code occurred and dismissed a complaint against City Clerk Casey Carl. While Trammell couldn’t release information about that complaint, a city employee told the Reformer in October she joined a complaint against Carl after he contacted her supervisor to complain about her anti-Frey post on Facebook, even though Carl had also advertised his opposition to the public safety ballot question on social media.

Carl declined to comment.

Updated at 8:48 a.m. Friday to clarify the ethics board’s action regarding Carl.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.