Décor Wars

Confronted with elections, an extortion scandal, and financial fiascoes, Minneapolis's leadership redecorates

Biernat, who represents the Third Ward and proudly notes that he uses only city-issue furniture, says that the impetus for the proposed policy was to clarify what type of décor would be acceptable. Things like posters outside of offices had become commonplace, he gripes. "It was an issue that was not addressed for too long," Biernat says. "We want to convey a professional work environment."

Eventually, the guidelines, which were drafted by Keefe, must make it through the council's Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Joan Campbell, and then through a meeting of the council as a whole. The rules aren't expected to appear on either agenda anytime soon, though.

Goodman, who bought herself a couch that appears to be made of some suede-denim hybrid when she was elected in 1997, seems resigned to the idea that the policy might pass. "Well, I probably can't keep it now," she says with a sigh. "It will look lovely at my house, too, I suppose."

Lane, however, vows that he won't be moved. "They can put the city-issued furniture in my basement if they want," he insists. "That's where my good furniture would be anyway." He, too, picked up his stuff on his own dime--at a Room and Board in Edina, he's quick to add. The kidney-shaped desk and cherry-stained oak credenza used to grace his law office at the Calhoun Beach Club.

Does he plan to keep it? "Absolutely," he says firmly, adding confidently that the proposal will not garner enough votes to become policy. "Are they going to come in here with the sheriff and take this away? Honest to Pete, who cares what I have in my office?"

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