After an initial scoping project completed this year, an independent study committee will convene to answer key questions that were identified.

The Citizens League is convening an independent study committee to answer key questions surrounding a minimum wage ordinance in the City of Saint Paul.  The study committee, whose members have been selected by the Citizens League, will represent a balance of different perspectives on this issue. Their charge will be to review previous scoping work, review other relevant research, agree on findings and conclusions from this effort, and finally, develop and put forward recommendations for a minimum wage ordinance to the City.

Earlier this year, the Citizens League published the findings of a scoping project surrounding a minimum wage ordinance in Saint Paul. Commissioned by the Saint Paul Foundation, work on this project began in November 2017 and ended in February 2018. The report identified key questions, assessed data and research, and identified key stakeholders surrounding this potential effort. This exploratory phase was intended to gain an understanding of underlying opinions and concerns around a possible minimum wage increase in Saint Paul.

The results of the scoping project were presented to the Saint Paul City Council and Mayor’s office in February. Upon learning the results, the City expressed interest in having the Citizens League lead an independent study committee to answer the key questions that were identified, given the city’s intentions to pass a minimum wage ordinance.

“We found through the first phase of this work that a minimum wage ordinance has the potential to have big effects on employees and employers alike, some of which may be unintended,” said Pahoua Hoffman, executive director of the Citizens League. “It’s important that we convene different perspectives using the Citizens League approach to review the available data and find areas of common ground on the way to final recommendations.”

Yesterday, the Saint Paul City Council passed a resolution supporting further funding to study the potential impacts of raising the minimum wage. The City of Saint Paul will contribute up to $60,000 in funds toward Phase 2, matching $60,000 in grants from the Saint Paul and F.R. Bigelow Foundations supporting both phases of the minimum wage study. Funding agreements with all organizations include a commitment that the study committee will take on its charge as an autonomous body independent of the City of Saint Paul.

“As Saint Paul weighs what the minimum wage of our city should be, it is essential that we have a meaningful and fact based discussion with those affected by it,” said Councilmember Chris Tolbert. “This continued work from the Citizens League is an important component as it will include facts, research and a meaningful exchange of unique and differing views.”

“I look forward to moving Saint Paul forward towards our goal of passing a $15 minimum wage ordinance by the end of this year,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “This Citizens League study committee will help us answer vital questions about how we structure a policy that works for all of us.”

The scope of work as agreed to by the Citizens League and the City of Saint Paul will ask the study committee to evaluate and provide feedback on four key ordinance components:

  1. What is the appropriate wage rate for the City of Saint Paul, and should this include other benefits like health insurance?
  2. What, if any, exemptions should be included in the ordinance?
  3. What is the likely impact on tipped workers of a tip credit based on evidence from other states and/or research?
  4. What is the appropriate phase-in time?

The study committee, listed below, will meet regularly from May 2018 to August 2018, with final recommendations delivered by the end of August. Committee meetings are open to be observed by the public. Meeting location, times, materials, minutes, and other documents will be made public on our website at

The study committee will include the following members:


  1. Ms. B. Kyle, President/CEO, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
  2. Mr. Rick Varco, Political Director, SEIU Healthcare MN

(In alphabetical order)

  1. Mr. Bob Brick, President/CEO, Ally People Solutions
  2. Mr. Samuel Callahan, Cook, McDonald’s and Taco Bell
  3. Mr. Dillon Donnelly, Saint Paul resident & Director of Business Development, Donnelly Custom Manufacturing
  4. Mr. Barry Gisser, CFO, Science of Museum of Minnesota, Citizens League Member (member since 2014)
  5. Mr. Matt Gray, Server, WA Frost Restaurant
  6. Mr. Jon Grebner, Political Action Director, AFSCME Council 5
  7. Mr. Matt Halley, Executive Director, Cookie Cart
  8. Mr. Doug Hennes, VP, Government Relations and Special Projects, University of St. Thomas
  9. Ms. Mary Hicks, Principal Gift Officer, University of Minnesota Office of Institutional Advancement, Citizens League Member (member since 1991)
  10. Ms. Sarah Kopp-Reddy, Server, Pizza Luce
  11. Mr. Andrew Kopplin, Owner, Kopplins Coffee Shops
  12. Ms. Rebecca Lucero, Public Policy Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  13. Mr. Tim Mahoney, Saint Paul resident and Owner of The Loon Cafe
  14. Ms. Veronica Mendez Moore, Co-Director, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL)
  15. Mr. Oscar Murcia, Owner, El Guanaco Bakery Y Cafe
  16. Ms. Kera Peterson, Political Director/Campaign Manager, Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation
  17. Mr. Sam Peterson, Owner, Kyatchi
  18. Ms. Analita Silva, Co-Owner, Saint Paul Small Business
  19. Ms. Pang Vang, Owner, Rainbow Health Kare, Inc.