Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges' campaign staff quits en masse

Staffers say paychecks were coming late or not at all, and there was too much interference from the mayor's office.

Staffers say paychecks were coming late or not at all, and there was too much interference from the mayor's office.

With only six weeks until voters go to the polls, about a half-dozen members of Mayor Betsy Hodges' campaign staff have resigned, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

This leaves campaign manager Mike Pfarr as one of the few remaining staffers.

Among those who have stepped away from the reelection effort are spokesperson Alida Tieberg and adviser Jim Niland, a former city council member who's held in deep respect within DFL circles. 

The news comes just five months after the resignations of Jorge Contreras, Hodges' first campaign manager, and organizing director Kyrstin Schuette.

The reasons behind the resignations are described as a perfect storm of sorts, according to sources who spoke to City Pages on the condition of anonymity because the don't want to ruffle feathers within the DFL. 

The mayor's campaign coffers are said to be running on fumes at around $6,000, according to a source who'd spoken with former staff. Hodges' most recent disclosure from August showed it had a cash balance of about $58,000. However, it also showed the campaign still owed five vendors a total of roughly $25,000.

According to a former campaign staffer and two other sources, operations and salaries have whittled down the funds to the point people were being paid late, if at all. In lieu of a paycheck, Hodges had resorted to promising "a win bonus." If she proved victorious, loyal staffers who stuck with her would be paid from future contributions. 

Win bonuses are common in campaigns. However, according to one person who resigned, recent polling numbers show the mayor's reelection is dubious at best, with her hemorrhaging support.  

The workers are said to have walked also because of what they saw as interference from Hodges' city staff. 

"They were sick and tired of being told what to do by the mayor's office staff," says a person with direct knowledge of the friction. "They were being sick of being bossed around. Basically, they were not allowed to make a decision and everything had to be cleared through the mayor's office." 

Messages left for Hodges' campaign this morning were not immediately returned.