Ex-Minneapolis police chief might be able to speak her mind about Mayor Hodges

It sounds like both women are willing to lose the non-disparagement clause.
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Mayor Betsy Hodges with now former Police Chief Janeé Harteau.

Former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau may be able to speak her mind about the mayor after all.

After Mayor Betsy Hodges asked Harteau to step down earlier this summer in the aftermath of the killing of Justine Damond, the longtime strained relationship between the pair was put on display. 

But both ladies have shown restraint and even a bit of admiration for each other in statements about Harteau's resignation.

And a proposed separation agreement between the former chief and the city aims to keep it that way. The "non-disparagement clause" included in the document says Harteau can't bad-mouth the city and vice versa, even if what they're saying is factual.

Whether or not that part needed to be included in the agreement is somewhat controversial. Some council members have objected to the clause, and Harteau's made it clear it wasn't her idea.

In an interview with KARE 11's Jana Shortal on Wednesday night, she said she never asked for it to be included. When asked why the clause is in there, Harteau told Shortal that was not her question to answer.

And now it sounds like Hodges doesn't mind if that bad-mouthing ban is taken out either.

In a statement obtained by the Star Tribune on Thursday, Hodges admitted that the clause was her idea, but that she would be "happy to remove it."

“When Chief Harteau asked for a letter of recommendation from me, I thought there was an opportunity for everyone to take the high road and that the non-disparagement clause, which is a common practice in separation agreements, could help bring the negotiation to a close," she said.

"I remain happy to provide the letter of recommendation, but if the clause is not helping with a smooth transition to Chief Arradondo, I’m happy to remove it as long as that removal doesn’t cost us more money," the statement adds.

The agreement, which also grants Harteau nearly $183,000, hasn't been approved yet. An executive committee is expected to go over it on Wednesday, and then it's scheduled to go to the full council for a vote on Sept. 20.

Harteau is currently working as a consultant, coach and motivational speaker.

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