McManus watch: Rybak's proposal hits snag

City Council says not so fast

The ongoing saga involving Minneapolis Police Chief William McManus and Mayor R.T. Rybak looks likely to be, well, more ongoing for now.

As reported last week, Hizzoner, worried that McManus was going to take the chief's job in San Antonio after the mayor dilly-dallied on reappointing his top cop, made much ado about speeding the confirmation process through the City Council.

One problem: The council intends to stick to procedure, not bow to the mayor.

Last week, Rybak held a press conference at City Hall and sent out a press release that had the council's Public Safety committee approving the reconfirmation on March 22, then forwarding it to the full council on March 31. The whole process is supposed to start with approval of reconfirmation from the Mayor's Executive Committee.

It looked to be clear sailing for Rybak to extend the reappointment offer before San Antonio comes calling. But on Friday, the City Council deleted the matter from its agenda.

The issue, according to council President Barb Johnson, is that the mayor hasn't started the ball rolling with confirmation of McManus coming out of his Executive Committee yet.

"The charter is very clear on how we do this," Johnson says. "And we're going to follow it."

By Johnson's estimation, the new timeline has the Executive Committee approving the reappointment of McManus on March 22, and a public hearing happening at the Public Safety committee meeting on April 5.

So Rybak's plan wasn't feasible? "Right," Johnson confirms.

It's worth noting that the San Antonio city manager, who makes the police chief choice, subject to council and mayoral approval, is expected to make a call sometime in mid-March, probably about now. In other words, by the time Rybak gets his candidate up for reppointment, McManus might have already headed to Texas.

"It always helps in these matters," Johnson notes, "if you talk to the city attorney first."

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