Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board

Recent Articles

Mpls park board, along with City, addresses inequities

Park board retiree says his former coworkers are running scared
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A former Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) employee earlier this year emailed all nine park board commissioners, expressing concern about workplace conditions. The MSR received  a copy of the five-page email sent in April titled “Racism issues concerns at the MPRB,” which made reference to the January 2012 investigation report in which top MPRB officials and the commissioners “agreed to address the concerns on the disparities and racism issues, and not to use fear or retaliation [against employees].”

“The work culture has not changed since 2012,” wrote the former MPRB employee, who later spoke on the condition that their name would not be published. The park board workplace can be characterized as an environment of paranoia, and employees are “working in tremendous fear,” while some are scared to talk on fear of retaliation, added Bob Ramphal, a former MPRB recreation center director who retired earlier this year after 46 years and spoke to park board commissioners in April. He recently talked to the MSR and said that he regularly stays in contact with his former colleagues. “Sometimes the employees felt like that they couldn’t trust anyone,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Mpls park board, along with City, addresses inequities

Outreach department works to reconcile cultural differences
 
By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

First of a two-part story

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges since her election nearly a year ago has made racial equity a cornerstone of her administration. The City Council earlier this summer approved her agenda, calling for all city departments to reduce racial disparities. Does this also include the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB), which historically has struggled with diversity issues both internally and externally? The MSR first published stories in 2012 on MPRB Black employees’ workplace discrimination investigated by the Minneapolis NAACP. Earlier this year, we received a copy of an email sent by Sixth District Commissioner Brad Bourn “about a morale crisis among many staff” pointed out by a retired employee during a board meeting. Continue Reading →

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Park Board embraces change in response to changing communities — Outreach director says cultural competency now a basic staff expectation

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

Minneapolis is vastly different today than a couple of decades ago as the city’s population has grown with more persons of color. Is the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) keeping pace with the demographic changes? Residents of color often complain that neighborhood parks and centers aren’t as welcoming as in the past, and many suspect it is because MPRB staff doesn’t reflect or respect them. However, in recent months the MPRB has instituted several changes they believe will better serve their increasingly diverse customers. “When you walk into our parks, people should know who our staff is,” explains Community Outreach Director Cordell “Corky” Wiseman on the staff dress code. Continue Reading →

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