Toward reforming the Met Council

More than 60 local citizens who care about the increasingly unchecked and unaccountable power of the Metropolitan Council showed up in February at the Burnhaven Library in Burnsville to hear legislators and experts from Center of the American Experiment talk about their ideas for reform.

The meeting, hosted by Representative Roz Peterson, was one in a series of town meetings sponsored jointly between the Center and individual legislators on a variety of issues. Representative Linda Runbeck, a chief proponent of Met Council reform at the legislature, helped organize the series. She also hosted a meeting at Hugo’s city hall in March.

CAE senior fellows Katherine Kersten and Kim Crockett were featured in both events.
Each have spoken and written extensively on behalf of Met Council reform. They coauthored a chapter on the Council in The Minnesota Policy Blueprint, a comprehensive book of policy proposals published in 2015 by the Center.

Their chapter, entitled Met Council Power Grab: How the Dayton Administration Intends to Transform the Twin City Region for Decade to Come, argued that the Met Council has rejected the mission the legislature assigned it—to accommodate growth in the region by planning for and delivering regional services—and flipped the mission to directing growth by leveraging its power over planning, transportation, and sewers.

Thrive MSP 2040 is the Dayton administration’s 30-year plan for development in the Twin Cities seven-county region. Kersten and Crockett say the plan entrenches a model of regional administration that neuters the power of local elected officials and centralizes decision-making authority in the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats of the Met Council.