Michelle Hill posted about the MPI/AMPCO two weeks ago. The issue
piqued my interest enough to go back and watch the Dec. 2 Council
Meeting. Following are much abbreviated notes I took on that, as well
as the Time Warner cable franchise transfer to Comcast.
Colvin Roy presents issue, talks about how involved business
community was in crafting RFP.
Zimmerman, Lilligren, and Barb Johnson spoke in favor of MPI, local
ownership, and minority-run companies.
Zerby said he is torn, but he believes that the employees will all be
offered jobs by AMPCO, as was the case when AMPCO took over the
MPI's employees are represented by the Teamsters, but their
maintenance and security workers are not unionized. AMPCO's workers
are represented by SEIU, which sent a letter to council members in
support of AMPCO. Zerby thinks MPI employees may be better
represented and treated when they are AMPCO employees. Notes that 40
% of AMPCO stock is owned by employees. Says the staff recommendation
is deserving of respect.
Benson is "highly satisfied with the work done by MPI" and he
recognizes that MPI was never asked to do marketing. Yes, we (the
City) are the owners of the ramps, but we don't have any experience
running parking systems, so we would not be able to help with
marketing. We need AMPCO's marketing experience. Ditto on respect for
Samuels says the relative benefits are difficult to quantify,
particularly around issues of employee ownership and hiring
minorities. But Minneapolis is trying to be an exemplary city "not
just in the human factors, in how we treat our citizens, but in how
crisp and attractive our community is and how streamlined our systems
are." His values will not be violated by voting for AMPCO.
Colvin Roy reiterates how well staff has served the council on this.
Ostrow reflects on how important this is, the first RFP under
"project excellence", drawing on the expertise of the business
community. Everyone thinks AMPCO has done a great job, but the RFP
called for marketing experience, and AMPCO has more experience.
Passed 9 to 4
Motion to conditionally approve transfer to Comcast.
Benson says it's true that the council has not been kept up to date
on this, but council members have to vote for it, otherwise the city
has no negotiating rights.
Zerby says the staff report indicates neither company has provided
requested information. They haven't come to the negotiating table.
Voting no will send a message that the City wants that information,
and wants its conditions met.
Niziolek says there should have been more briefings, but the best
approach is to approve the staff recommedation. If we deny the
transfer, we can't protect our interests.
Zimmerman asks why we should agree to turn over the contract to
someone who won't even come to the negotiating table. Says all this
could have been avoided it the city owned the cable network and
contracted out for the management.
Goodman says this isn't about too few staff briefings, it's about not
having any briefings. Doesn't feel she has enough information to vote.
Benson says he wouldn't fault Time Warner for not coming to the
table. We sued them, there isn't any table to come to. The transfer
is going to happen. Voting no would mean the transfer will happen
without the conditions we want.
Colvin Roy says if we approve with conditions it gives us time to
work out the conditions. Voting no on the transfer means it would go
ahead, and the city would have to go to court to stop it or to get
any conditions put on it.
Zerby says it's to everyone's advantage to have these conditions
worked out with full disclosure of data.
Passed 9 to 2, with 1 abstention
Becca Vargo Daggett
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