Thursday, May 30, 2013

LMC Core Values: A Few Ground Rules

You don't make it 100 years without setting a few ground rules. As part of the 2000-2003 strategic plan, the League Board of Directors set out to document and update the values that have gotten us through the past, and with plenty of hard work will help us achieve our mission of serving cities for years to come.

 In this video, League staff members count down the League values that they work to realize every day.

Starring (in the order of appearance):
Anne Finn—Assistant Intergovernmental Relations Director
Kevin Frazell—Director of Member Services
Garnelle Boudreau—Receptionist
Jason Little—Advertising and Sponsorship Associate
Jeanette Behr—Research Manager
Rebecca Hardel—Human Resources Representative
Laura Honeck—LMCIT Program Assistant
Jon Wilebski—Accountant
Mike Witham—Applications Manager

Check out the list of Core Values here.

 Do you have an example of League staff demonstrating one of the Core Values? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Message from the LMC President: Collaboration and the Future of Cities

What does the future hold? Unless you've got a crystal ball, the best we can do is work to make the future as bright as can be.

And good leadership is a nice place to start.

Each year, the League elects a president to lead the Board of Directors during the upcoming year. J.E. Jenks of St. Cloud paved the way, holding the position for the first two years of the League's existence.

One hundred years later, Betsy Hodges, a city councilmember from Minneapolis, was elected president just in time for the League's centennial year. Lucky duck? Fate? You decide.

But leadership isn't the only tool to a strong organization. Working together can be a skillful way to help strengthen our neighbors and ourselves in the process.

In this video, Hodges takes a few minutes to think about the future, and how a spirit of collaboration can help us be smarter and stronger when we get there, no mystical orb required.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Moments in Time: Training for Minnesota City Officials

This photo of the lucky winners was run in The Journal in International Falls.

Did you know that in 1959, the LMC Annual Conference attendee in International Falls with the most pennies in her purse won a sightseeing flight over the Canadian border? Mrs. Harry Carlson (second from left, in the photo above) was likely pleased as punch when she produced 31 pennies to win the contest and that fabulous plane ride! She even got to bring along two of her pals—that experience was surely something she never forgot.

What about your memories of LMC training events? Were you there this March when a commissioner of Beltrami County sang “Happy Birthday” to Twitter at the 2013 Joint Legislative Conference?

While these moments (as well as the “aha!” learning lightbulbs that members experience at events) have been a constant across the years, the face of training itself has certainly evolved. Things we used to offer—like a training school for firefighters established in 1929 that drew from the Upper Midwest, and correspondence courses for municipal accounting that were popular in the mid-century—have now been replaced by things such as Safety and Loss Control Workshops and regular webinars.

No matter the topic, LMC has always strived to provide members with information that is timely, useful, and accessible. Members consistently cite the value of networking with other colleagues and getting info from the pros as their top reasons to attend an event. But you never know when a spontaneous serenade or an unexpected opportunity will arise and make the event that much more special.

So join us for one of our upcoming training opportunities! Whether it’s our annual fall Regional Meetings when we take the show on the road to cities across Minnesota, our City Learning Point courses that are available online anytime and anywhere, or our special Centennial-year Annual Conference and Marketplace in St. Paul this June—there are sure to be more memorable moments.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

LMCIT Beginnings: A Leap of Faith Leads the Way

When the commercial insurance market for cities reached a crisis point in the mid-'70s, League staff and several city officials stepped up to see what could be done.

Their solution was to build one of the first municipal insurance pools in the nation from scratch.

The data was sketchy. There was no legislative authority for such an entity. And, oh yeah, the competition wasn't too pleased.

It took a real leap of faith on the part of cities to join what was to become the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) in those days.

In this video, LMCIT Administrator Pete Tritz recounts some of the obstacles that the founders surmounted to make the Trust what it is today: a stable source of information and service tailored specifically to cities' needs. Not widget factories, not wandering dance troupes. Cities.

 Here's a sample of the coverages that LMCIT has developed JUST for cities over the years:

1991—Volunteer accident coverage

1993—Open Meeting Law coverage

1996—Land use regulation and development litigation coverage

2011—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder coverage for emergency responders

Read more from the interview with Pete Tritz in this month's special centennial keepsake magazine,  arriving soon with your copy of Minnesota Cities magazine.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cities’ Finest: LMC’s Work with Police

An Albert Lea patrolman and chief of police are pictured with the city’s first police dog in 1961.

One of the groups that helps to make cities function so well—and so safely—is police departments. As evidenced by the photo above printed in Minnesota Municipalities magazine, police work in cities has come a long way! While the addition of a K9 unit was the newest and most exciting advancement in 1961, times have certainly changed since Shep (the dog) arrived in Albert Lea.

And as the job of peace officer becomes more complicated, the League has responded with a variety of behind-the-scenes services to keep Minnesota police departments focused on the important stuff—keeping residents safe.

So what services does LMC provide to help officers? Here’s a quick recap of the highlights:

Legal and Administrative Research: The law is constantly changing—so the League also provides assistance with the civil side of police work by analyzing and explaining changes in civil statutes, civil case law, and litigation trends. Police departments and city administrators also face questions every day about issues like employment, data practices, or human resources. When they need assistance answering those questions, the League is here to act as a resource.

Coverage: The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) understands the risks of Minnesota municipal police departments because we insure approximately 98 percent of them in the state. Subsequently, the Trust prices coverage for peace officers that is appropriate for their risk—and that doesn’t break a city’s bank.

Loss Control: The League hosted its first loss control workshops in 1988, and the educational offerings for public safety officers have only grown since. The League has also developed a list of injury prevention programs like the Training Safety Officer program, the slip/trip/fall program, and promoting the safety lift for difficult lifts of heavy people.

PATROL Online Training: The PATROL (Police-Accredited Training Online) program started in 2006 in an effort to reach officers in all four corners of the state every day, 24 hours a day. It provides the up-to-date law enforcement training that officers need—including POST credits they need for continuing education requirements, as well as OSHA mandates. The program is cost effective and can be accessed by officers from anywhere they have access to the internet. Find out more about PATROL.

Contract Assistance: Sometimes police departments need help establishing their mutual aid agreements and joint powers agreements for multi-agency cooperatives like task forces or training centers—and that’s where the League’s contract review services comes in. This began as a formal service (free for members) in 2006, and we also provide guidance for contracted policing between cities and townships.

Public Safety Liaison: Two years ago, the League hired former police officer and county deputy Rob Boe as our public safety project coordinator. Rob’s main focus is keeping public safety workers safe on the job. And with more than 25 years of experience, Rob has a deep understanding of law enforcement because he has walked in their shoes. Check out his blog at

One thing is certain: police work will continue to change. And we at the League of Minnesota Cities are committed to changing with it and continuing to support our cities’ finest!