Mpls Park Board

Recent Articles

Mpls Park Board elections now include candidates of color

Candidates say equitable resources require equal representation
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

In a previous MSR story, “No candidates of color for Mpls Park Board elections,” (June 27, 2013), we reported that though this year the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has seats open for election, there were no people of color vying for the positions. In response to that story, we have been contacted by two people who have since decided to throw their hats in the ring. Said Maye wants the Minneapolis parks in his neighborhood to be more equitable for its residents. Ishmael Israel wants to see more diversity in decision-making that ultimately affects neighborhoods and residents. Both men have filed and are running for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioners seats in this fall’s municipal election. Continue Reading →

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Park Board, NAACP meet to address worker grievances

 
Meanwhile, complaints continue to surface

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) officials and the Minneapolis NAACP now are meeting to address concerns raisedby Black employees and customers. “I think they are receptive, and I look forward to working with them,” said NAACP President Booker Hodges after his recent meetings with MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller and Board Chairman John Erwin. The NAACP, who previously investigated “over 60 complaints…and over 100 customers’ complaints,” have recently received an additional 15 complaints from Park Board workers since the MSR January 5 story on employment conditions among MPRB Black employees, said Hodges. “We have been contacted by White employees, too,” he reported. “They say they have the same issues but Blacks have it worse.”

The MSR also received several phone calls and emails from present and former Park Board employees. Continue Reading →

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Black employees call Mpls Park Board a “Toxic Workplace”

 

 

NAACP acts on numerous complaints from workers and customers
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A six-month Minneapolis NAACP investigation into employment conditions among African Americans at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has found “systemic areas which the Minneapolis Park Board must address to remedy the concerns of our organization and those who come to us seeking assistance,” according to a December 23 letter from Branch President Booker T Hodges to John Erwin, park board chairman. The letter was prompted by “over 60 complaints from Minneapolis Park Board employees and over 100 customers’ complaints in addition to those employee complaints.”

In a series of meetings with the MSR in recent weeks, African American employees have described the current Park Board workplace as one where a “toxic” atmosphere of fear and retaliation is pervasive, where Blacks feel “disrespected” and “humiliated,” and where those who speak out against perceived inequities are targeted and punished for being “militant.” These Black employees feel that due to the lack of diversity in upper management, including the human relations department (see sidebar), there is “no one who looks like us” and no one willing to address their concerns. Black employees also report several firings and reprimands based on “trumped-up charges” and on a double standard in applying policies to Whites and Blacks. These employees say they do not trust their union representatives to address their concerns or to support them in resolving disputes with their employer. As a result they feel isolated and “bullied” by their superiors. Continue Reading →

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