St. Paul’s first ever “Community-First Public Safety Initiatives Director” recently resigned over a number of disputes with Mayor Melvin Carter, including Carter’s support of now Attorney General Keith Ellison.
“You chose to support Keith Ellison while I chose to support my friend Karen Monahan. I was more ostracized after our conversation,” Jason Sole wrote in his January 21 resignation letter, a copy of which was recently obtained by Fox 9.
Some believe that Sole’s resignation was forced by Carter’s office, since Sole publicly refused to support programs such as the Joint Powers Agreement for Data Sharing of Youth Information, which was ultimately canceled on Monday. That three-way agreement between St. Paul, Ramsey County, and St. Paul Public Schools would have allowed for cross-sharing of youth zip codes, incomes, truancy numbers, race, and the like to better identify at-risk youth.
“During my first week, I was asked to support the Joint Powers Agreement for Data Sharing of Youth Information. I refused and you disregarded (and continue to disregard) my recommendation with your continued support of [that] harmful agreement,” Sole wrote in his letter.
Sole’s position was established to help the city transition away from over-policing and towards community-led public safety efforts, but he revealed in his resignation letter that his office wasn’t given any funds to complete this task.
“You made the determination to disregard my recommendation by stating that the investments would go into people, placemaking, and police. The change in your rhetoric between your inauguration speech and this decision is hard to overstate,” Sole said. “You stated that we express our values by how we spend our money. I wasn’t given a dollar to lead my community-first public safety initiatives, which clearly shows that there is no value in this role. #trophyposition”
Sole went on to call Carter’s investment in more police officers “politics as usual,” noting that Carter said in his inauguration address that the city isn’t “safer with more cops.”
Carter’s office confirmed Sole’s resignation Friday in a brief statement, which thanked him for his “service” and wished “him well.”
“I have tried to be as supportive as I could possibly be for you but it hasn’t been reciprocated,” Sole concluded his letter. “You can’t name one initiative you’ve supported of mine.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jason Sole” by Jason Sole.
Photo “Melvin Carter” by Melvin Carter.