Thursday, May 25, 2017

Grundhoefer's Career of Service Honored with Amdahl Award

Tom Grundhoefer was general counsel of LMC
from 1996 to February of 2017.
Who did Minnesota cities turn to when they needed expert advice on legislation and judicial rulings? Tom Grundhoefer. Who approached every situation—no matter how ugly or messy it got—with a calm demeanor, common sense and thoughtfulness? Tom Grundhoefer. Who exemplified what it meant to be a committed public attorney to the highest degree? Tom Grundhoefer.

Because of these accomplishments, Grundhoefer, former general counsel of the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC), has posthumously received the Douglas K. Amdahl Public Attorney Career Achievement Award from the Minnesota State Bar Association-Public Law Section.

The Amdahl Award recognizes public attorneys who go above and beyond the call of duty, and anyone who knew Grundhoefer would attest that he fit this description to a T.

Grundhoefer—affectionately referred to as just “Tom G.” around the League—first was hired as a research assistant for the League in 1980 while he was a student at William Mitchell College of Law. From 1982 to 1986, he worked in private practice before returning to the League as a staff attorney. In 1996, he was promoted to general counsel of LMC and the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. He was also a leader in the city attorney community and served as counsel to the Minnesota City Attorneys Association and on the board of directors for the International Municipal Lawyers Association.

Grundhoefer’s four decades of public service came to a close after he unexpectedly died in February. But the lasting impression he had on those around him and his legacy of unfaltering service will live on in the public attorney and local government communities.

Grundhoefer’s colleagues included the following in their nomination letter:
“Whoever you were, whoever you represented, or whatever title or position you had or didn’t have, you left Tom’s presence feeling listened to and respected. Feeling ‘served.’” They went on to say, “Tom’s commitment to serve others stands out as a shining example of a public law career well served—a government lawyer to emulate.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Why LMC Board Members Decided to Serve MN Cities—And How You Can, Too

Not only do members of the League of Minnesota Cities Board of Directors love their own cities, but they also take pride in lending a hand to all member cities around the state—large, small, north, south, you name it.

Being on the LMC Board gives them an opportunity to give back to the local government community, and you have the chance to help lead Minnesota cities and the League now, too!

LMC board members come from different backgrounds and community sizes, but they all agree on one thing: they value their role on LMC's Board of Directors.

The League is now accepting applications from city officials who also want to lead Minnesota local governments to success by taking on the board's responsibilities to prepare cities and the League for the future.

Applications are due May 26, so check out more information about the selection process, and see what prompted a few of the League’s current board members to bid for a seat on the LMC Board of Directors:
“I wanted to be on the LMC Board because this board should demonstrate the diversity of our great state.  I wanted to voice my opinion representing small-town life in Minnesota.  As someone who grew up in St. Paul and has lived in the south, north, and western part of this state, I believe we are stronger when we encourage all voices to be heard.” – Sue Hilgert, mayor of Olivia, MN


“Way back in the early 1990s, I started my professional career at the League of Minnesota Cities and had the opportunity to get to know the Board of Directors. I watched how they worked with each other, how they interacted with staff, and how they provided leadership in tough situations. I realized that if I ever had the chance to serve and lead as those folks did, I would.” – Tim Busse, councilmember of Bloomington, MN

“I wanted to be on the LMC board for the opportunity to work with and learn from some incredible individuals, to be a part of leading one of the most important organizations in the state, and to learn more about giving cities a voice and ensuring that our voice is heard.” – Tina Rennemo, city clerk-treasurer of Baudette, MN




“I wanted to give back to an organization that has provided so much for me in expanding my career as a city manager. All board members that I have worked with have a strong passion for their individual cities as well as the League of Minnesota Cities, which makes it a high-energy board.” – Mike Mornson, city manager of Hopkins, MN

“I wanted to be on the LMC Board because I have the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas with some of the best and brightest in the field. Being part of the League at this level has made me a better leader and manager, and has allowed me to give back to an organization that I hold in high regard.” – Mark Casey, city manager of St. Anthony Village, MN

“We have all likely been in a meeting where someone suggests, 'calling the League.' LMC has earned that reputation for being 'someone to call' by developing relationships and serving as a trusted information resource for its members. I’m hoping to contribute, in part, to the LMC’s continued advocacy of Minnesota cities.” – Brent Mareck, city manager of Carver, MN

The League’s board members know that their own cities benefit when all Minnesota cities—from Baudette to Bloomington—work together to strengthen the entire state and make sure all Minnesota voices are heard. Remember, applications are due May 26, and candidates will be interviewed by a Nominating Committee on June 14 at the Annual Conference in Rochester.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Thank You, City Clerks!

Municipal Clerks Week is coming to a close and League staff want to say THANK YOU to all Minnesota city clerks for the work you do to keep cities operating at their best. Your dedication benefits everyone who lives, works, and plays in Minnesota.

If you're not familiar with the work of city clerks in Minnesota, here are just a few of the duties that clerks may perform in Minnesota cities:

  • Election administration
  • Agenda preparation
  • Meeting minute-taking
  • Records retention 
  • Financial management
  • Ordinance and resolution maintenance
  • Historical records preservation
  • Permit processing
  • Data practices compliance

... And of course, in many Minnesota cities the clerk is the primary administrator!

That kind of to-do list makes being a city clerk both a rewarding career and a big responsibility. So again, we want to say "thank you" for your work, this week and every week of the year. We see the difference you make in your communities every day.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The City Spot Café: State Pre-emption

What you need to know about pre-emption right now, served up by the LMC Research and Information Service team. 

Definition: State law “pre-empts” local decision-making authority either by saying so in the language of the statute, or when the Legislature has “occupied the field” of that subject.

Plain language explanation: In areas of law where local authority has been pre-empted, the local authority cannot enact or enforce ordinances or regulations related to that topic, and the state is calling the shots. Any local laws that are inconsistent with state law in these areas are void.

There are two main methods of pre-emption:

1. A law may state outright that it is pre-empting local decision-making. Example: the Legislature explicitly pre-empts local authority to regulate firearms.

2. The Legislature may also “occupy the field.” Field pre-emption means the Legislature has not stated in law that local authority is pre-empted per se, but a review of the statute shows that state law covers the subject matter in every which-way, the Legislature has clearly indicated that the subject matter is solely a state concern, or the subject matter itself is of such a nature that local regulation would have unreasonably harmful effects.

In the news: State lawmakers around the country and here in Minnesota have announced plans to restrict city authority in a variety of policy areas ranging from employment (like sick time offerings)—to public health and environmental matters like plastic bag bans and even drilling of private wells.

Pros: In some situations, the Legislature pre-empting city authority makes sense. One example is driver and vehicle licensure, where the state occupies the field. From the perspective of a city, having the state take on vehicle registration, licensing of drivers, and other related matters is a good idea. Cities would face huge costs handling that kind of paperwork across jurisdictions, and the state is better equipped to handle those tasks.

Cons: In other areas, pre-emption can tie the hands of cities who want to tailor their ordinances to the needs of their communities and instead, it can result in one-size-fits-all requirements that are imposed from the top-down. Local elected officials live in their communities and have close contact with their constituents, which means certain subjects are best left to local officials. Cities have also been known to come up with some pretty smart ideas. Policy innovation allowed to happen at the local level has resulted in statewide benefit later.

League Position: The League is in favor of ensuring continued local control over issues impacting cities, and all the positives that result from respecting Minnesota’s healthy city-state partnership.

Resource: For further information on the League’s legislative priorities, please see the 2017 City Policies and the League’s local authority advocacy toolkit.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Who Deserves a Round of Applause? Nominate City Leaders for Awards by May 5

2016 award winners: Oak Park Heights Mayor Mary McComber
and Shoreview City Manager Terry Schwerm
Take a moment and think of the person in your life who deserves a round of applause for their work in local government.

Who comes to mind?

Yup, chances are that person you are picturing is pretty great! They may also be a perfect nominee for the League of Minnesota Cities’ C.C. Ludwig Award or the James F. Miller Leadership Award, which are now open for 2017 nominations until May 5. Find details and a nomination form here.

Did you think of an elected official? → C.C. Ludwig Award
Do they present a clear vision? ✔ Do they have a knack for public service? ✔ Have they gone above
and beyond to make contributions to improve municipal government throughout Minnesota? ✔
If the check marks keep coming, now is the time to nominate your elected city official for the C.C. Ludwig Award.

Did you think of an appointed official? → James F. Miller Leadership Award
The LMC panel of judges will also be looking for appointed city officials who have shown outstanding leadership by dedicating themselves to public service in their communities. Pro tip: nominees will really “wow” the judges if they’ve also made a point of benefiting the greater local government community in Minnesota, beyond the boundaries of their own cities.

You may be thinking, “How do I know if they are qualified for these awards?” Every nominee has their own unique history and resume, but it might help to take a look at these stories featuring past winners in Minnesota Cities magazine.
League Celebrates Outstanding City Leaders (2016)
League Recognizes City Leaders (2015)

Who are C.C. Ludwig and James (Jim) F. Miller, anyway?
They are both former League executive directors who are worth reading up on. Check out these archives to see more about the leaders behind the awards that honor our city officials today!
C.C. Ludwig—The Man, The Award, The Legacy
Jim Miller—22 Years of Leading The League


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Great City Work? Check. Next Up? LMC Awards Recognition

Your city isn’t waiting to make your community a better place to live, and you shouldn’t wait to help recognize your city’s success stories!

The League of Minnesota Cities offers multiple awards to showcase your hard work, including the City of Excellence Award and the League of Minnesota Cities/GreenStep Cities Sustainable City Award. These annual awards are now accepting nominations through May 5.

City of Excellence Awards
If your city has improved a city service, solved a classic conundrum, modified a solution to fit your city's needs, saved money while achieving great results, or creatively included stakeholders in a decision-making process, this work could be a good fit for the general entry category in the League’s City of Excellence Award program.

Representatives of 10 cities in southwest Minnesota accept a
joint City of Excellence Award in 2016.
Get your City of Excellence entry form on the League's website, and turn in your entries by May 5 to share your good work.

General entries are accepted in three population categories:

•    4,999 and under
•    5,000 to 19,999
•    20,000 or more

The City of Excellence Award program also offers recognition in a different topical category each year. For this year’s topical award category, “Promoting Civility in the City,” the League wants to know how your city fosters civility in city hall or in the greater community. This could look like a program or project that improves council-staff relations, promotes open and respectful community dialogue, or results in successful community conversations about a controversial issue. 

Want examples of award-winning projects? Check out the 2016 winners, featured in Minnesota Cities magazine:

Hastings’ ‘Riverfront Renaissance’ Brings New Vitality
Oak Park Heights Turns Fly-Ash Pit into Fun Park
Belle Plaine Boosts Safety with ‘Tiger Watch’ Program
Collaborative Effort Brings Fiber-Optic Broadband to Rural Region

Sustainable City Award
The Sustainable City Award is also offered by the League and GreenStep Cities partner organizations. GreenStep Cities can submit work they’ve done to help achieve their sustainability goals.

If your city is making green look good, download a Sustainable City Award application and submit your success stories by May 5.

Want examples of sustainability that wowed? Check out the 2015 and 2016 winners:

St. Anthony Village: Sustainable City Through Collaboration (press release)
Oakdale Saves Money While Working to Save the Planet



Monday, March 27, 2017

Sneak-Peek: 2017 Safety & Loss Control Workshops

Spring has arrived in most parts of Minnesota, and with this season comes our annual Safety & Loss Control Workshops! Industry professionals have polished their presentations and are ready to share tips for handling common safety challenges.

Beginning this week, we’ll be in nine locations across the state sharing the latest in how to manage risk. Each workshop is broken down into tracks according to the position you hold in your city.

***

Every morning, we’ll have sessions for the following municipal professionals:

Administrative (there will be an afternoon session as well)
This 3-hour track will include sessions on tech contracts, FLSA (Fair Labor Standard Act) changes, siting requests for large and small cell towers, and codification services available for your city. Want to study up a little in advance? Here’s a memo on Cell Towers, Small Cell Technologies & Distributed Antenna Systems.

Police
This track’s sessions include TED-Talk-inspired presentations on new lineup identification procedures, police injury trends, responses to mental illness calls, accommodations for religion in the workplace, and policing in VUCA (volatile, unpredictable, complex, and ambiguous) environments—as well as how to deal with the mental and emotional concerns of your city’s officers. Curious to learn more about VUCA? Here’s a recent blog post on the topic.

Public Works with Parks & Rec
Sessions over this 3-hour track will cover ergonomic tools for day-to-day work, water and mold clean-up and remediation, and how to prepare proper contracts when working with contractors. Parks & rec professionals are welcome to review this loss control information memo that discusses how to keep facilities, programs, and employees as safe as possible!

Every afternoon, sessions will include information for the following city employees:

Administrative
This track will include sessions on preventing child abuse in youth-serving organizations, protecting your city’s data from hackers, preparing for natural disasters, and understanding insurance needs for special events. In case you missed it, the most recent issue of Minnesota Cities magazine included an in-depth article on child abuse prevention in city programs.

Insurance Agents
For those agents who work with Minnesota cities, this track will have sessions on equipment breakdown coverage, League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) updates, tips for communicating to members about the insurance trust, and unique claims coverage and liability analysis. Here’s a document outlining the 2016-17 LMCIT coverage changes.

HR & Leadership—NEW!
New this year, supervisory issues like veterans preference in hiring, overcoming unconscious bias, and preventing workplace retaliation will be covered in this track. The latest edition of Minnesota Cities magazine includes a comprehensive article on workplace retaliation, in case you’re looking for a preview of this topic.

***

As you can see, we’ve got something for everyone! Hope to see you at one of the workshops this spring.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Swing into the March-April Issue of Minnesota Cities Magazine

Spring is finally upon us along with the March-April issue of Minnesota Cities magazine!

Check out how some fire departments in Minnesota are using the “duty crew” model to meet the demands of modern-day firefighting in this issue’s cover story, Duty Crews: Helping Fire Departments Manage the Modern World.

Other highlights:

Making sure that children participating in city programs feel safe is a top priority for any city official. In Child Abuse Prevention: Keeping Kids Safe in the City, League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust Field Consultant Tracy Stille describes thorough routines to protect kids, as well as your city’s reputation.

When the City of St. Cloud spotted a not-so-appealing brown sediment floating around in the Mississippi River, the city banded together with its community to clean up its drinking water source. See how St. Cloud stepped up to the plate to keep its own drinking water clean and to protect the water of cities downstream in How a City Rallied Together for Clean Water.

You can also find out what LMC Executive Director David Unmacht has to say about the role of citizen volunteers, catch up on Belle Plaine's simple but successful public safety program in Ideas in Action, and get ideas from the cities of Wahkon and Wanamingo in Two-Way Street: How Does Your City Honor Veterans?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Predictions for the Not-So-Distant Future of Tech and Cities

We sat down earlier this year with LMC’s new chief information officer, Melissa “Mel” Reeder to get her big-picture predictions for the not-so-distant future of tech and cities. We had a few “huh?” moments, but Mel is a pretty down-to-earth talker and was happy to translate her tech-speak into the following visions of what could lie ahead. Prepare to be inspired: 

Prediction 1

Open data: Cities will branch out into the role of providing the public a platform to access and mine public data. By thoughtfully structuring data in a standardized way, cities can make large sets of information usable and relevant to users. This allows users the freedom and flexibility to reference the data for their own creative applications—and could get cities out of the app-making business (doesn’t that sound nice?). In addition, centralized data will allow for more de-siloing of information and activity. When geographic data “borders” disappear, cross-jurisdiction collaboration follows.

Prediction 2
Personalization: Cities will continue providing more personalized services, allowing residents to register or opt-in to receiving tailored information, whether it’s about traffic or the hours of a neighborhood park. More and more, citizens will receive convenient texts or email notices when they need to renew a permit or pay a traffic ticket. Using pictures as well as text, public employees will be able to respond directly to requests, telling citizens when and how they resolved their issues. How’s that for service?

Prediction 3
Predictive analytics (Wait! Wait! Don’t glaze over yet!): By layering different types of seemingly unrelated data to see how different systems may be interacting, cities can address these intersections before they turn into big problems or missed chances. Example: comparing data from apps that crowd-source popular running routes to your city’s plans for where to locate trail amenities or zoning for pedestrian-friendly commercial. These “preemptive interventions” could be in any department or combo of departments’ purviews—infrastructure, public health, public safety, you name it. By better pairing intervention with need, these analytics will create new efficiencies in many city services.

Bonus prediction: Mel is fascinated by “Hyperloop” technology—individual transport capsules capable of traveling up to 800 miles an hour by magnet, which could theoretically allow you to get from the tippy top of the state to the southern border of Minnesota in about 45 minutes. Hey, a CIO can dream.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Advocating for Cities: What’s Been Happening and What You Can Do

We’re already two months into the 2017 Legislative Session! While it's always a busy place, more bill introductions than usual in the House and Senate=even more activity related to the city issues you care about. Below is an update on three issues that the League has been working on.

Small Cell Technology
Small cell technology in public right of way has been a hot topic in the legislature for the League so far. The League is currently opposed to the bill. While discussions are occurring with the proponents of the bill, there are still areas of concern including liability, installation, expenses, and impacts on governance.
Data Practices
Part of a potential omnibus data practices bill, this legislation would reclassify video, audio, and other recordings of government employees, independent contractors, or volunteers from "private" to "public" data. The League opposes this bill. One reason for this opposition is that personnel data that will continue to be considered private on paper would be considered public on video.
Workforce Housing
Cities facing a shortage of housing that would allow employers to expand their businesses should be aware of League-supported proposals to provide tax increment financing (TIF) and tax credits for workforce housing development. Workforce housing has been a priority of the League since 2015.

How can you advocate for these and other issues impacting your city?
Advocating for your city can take many shapes, but being able to tell your city’s story is one of the most effective ways to make sure your voice is heard and to educate others about what's happening in your city. It's also important to continuously build relationships with lawmakers, the media, and the people in your community. You can find resources and information on how to advocate on the League's website.

Join your city colleagues to make an impact at the Capitol!
Whether you’re new to advocating for your city or you’re experienced in getting your story out, join more than 140 of your city colleagues at the Capitol on March 23 for the 2017 Legislative Conference for Cities in St. Paul.

Start the day early with a pre-conference session reviewing the best ways to advocate, then hear from the League’s intergovernmental relations team, members of the media, and state government leaders as you get up to date on the League’s legislative priorities, Minnesota’s political landscape, and more. Plus, you’ll have opportunities to tour the Capitol, meet with your legislators, and connect with your city colleagues.

Online registration is closing soon! Explore the full agenda and more: www.lmc.org/legconf17blog

Do you have stories about advocating for your city? Share them in the comments below!


Friday, February 17, 2017

'I Love My City!' A Second Helping from the LMC Board

In honor of Valentine's Day week, we reached out to the League of Minnesota Cities Board of Directors with a simple question—what do you love about your city? We got back plenty of answers, each one different and a reflection of the city and city official!

See the first scoop of city love here: 'I Love My City!' These LMC Board Members Tell Us Why.

Read on for more highlights from their responses:

"I love Hopkins because of the great downtown we have and the great people that make
up this city. There is a lot of pride." Mike Mornson, city administrator of Hopkins, MN
"We love our quarries, our central Minnesota location, our farmland, and our diverse
population. Pictured above is my favorite 'gem,' Transformer Quarry." Shaunna Johnson,
city administrator of Waite Park, MN.
"Bloomington somehow manages to feel like a small town (residents are involved, informed, and passionate),
a comfortable suburb, and a bustling big city all at once." Tim Busse, city councilmember in Bloomington
"I love St. Anthony Village because we are a small 'village' in the middle of the big city. ... Collaboration is in our DNA, and I know that we are stronger through our many partnerships." Mark Casey, city manager of St. Anthony Village
"I love Carver because it preserves and balances the natural environment, heritage, and growth opportunities in the community. Over half of the city’s land area is conserved within the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the downtown has nearly one-hundred buildings with late 19th century architecture preserved on the National Register of Historic Places, all while balancing new growth." Brent Mareck, city manager of Carver, MN
"I love my city because it has a ‘can-do’ attitude. We have great people who are not afraid to invest in our
needs and take care of our infrastructure." Dave Smiglewski, mayor of Granite Falls, MN
Photos submitted by LMC board members

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

'I Love My City!' These LMC Board Members Tell Us Why

In honor of Valentine's Day week, we reached out to the League of Minnesota Cities Board of Directors with a simple question—what do you love about your city? We got back plenty of answers, each one different and a reflection of the city and city official!

Plenty of board members love the cities they live and work in because they're darn proud of all their cities have to offer. Take a road trip of these locales to see cities of all sizes that are retaining and growing businesses, offering places to play and enjoy the outdoors, and delivering city services with an eye on smart investments.

But board members also pointed out plenty of things that really say, "It's personal." From local lore to a good vibe with the neighbors, a sense of community wins the day when it comes to winning their hearts.

Read on to see some highlights in their own words! And see a second helping of love for cities here:
'I Love My City!' A Second Helping from the LMC Board.


"I love my city because it is just the right size! It is small enough that we know each other and we can all count on a neighborly presence in good times (athletics and community projects/events) as well as support in bad times (fundraising events and a helping hand)! Yet it is big enough that we have exciting things going on." Tina Rennemo, city administrator of Baudette, MN

"I love my city because everyone cares about our community, and many citizens and groups are working
on ways to keep our community moving forward." Steve Nasby, city administrator of Windom, MN.

"I love my city because Olivia is a very distinctive small town. There definitely is a feeling of
neighbor helping neighbor in our community. Olivia has everything needed in a small community ...
[including] an award-winning coffee shop!"  Sue Hilgert, mayor of Olivia, MN
"'I'm from Bemidji and I couldn't be prouder … and if you don't believe me, I'll yell a little louder!' That old cheer from my days at Bemidji High School still rings true today! I love my city and I'm always willing to talk about Bemidji with anyone who is willing to listen. I enjoy describing how this former lumber town has rebuilt itself ... without sacrificing its “lumberjack” character." Ron Johnson, city councilmember in Bemidji, MN
Photos submitted by LMC board members

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Future Cities Competition Brings City Services to a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Ever wanted to design your own city from scratch? Middle-schoolers from around the state recently had that opportunity at the 2017 Regional Future City Competition. Nearly 50 teams of middle-schoolers gathered at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis to show off the city dioramas they built and to present information about how their cities were planned.

The League had the opportunity again this year to judge the “Building Quality Communities” special award. League judges looked for cities that promoted ideas to improve and maintain a high quality of life for residents. Many teams had outstanding ideas for this category, which made our decision difficult.

Three of Basabillion's student planners use the force
of good city planning and local government services.
This year’s recipient of the “Building Qualities Communities” award is “Basabillion,” designed by students from Black Hawk Middle School, located in Eagan. The team was very proud of their fictional city, which was inspired by the Star Wars planet of Endor.

According to members of the winning team, Basabillion has a native population of Ewoks (think teddy bears) as well as human citizens that share the city. The design of Basabillion started with solid infrastructure and services to create a better community. Residents can get from place to place by a taxi carpool service run through an app. The streets light up at night and are intended to be pedestrian friendly. For safety, the city uses community policing and plain-clothed officers. There is universal healthcare and a high minimum wage for all citizens. Citizens enjoy top-notch museums and history centers for fun things to do.

One of the most unique features of the city of Basabillion is its sense of community. The students designed public gathering spaces and programs to promote engagement between residents. Humans and the Ewok population live together in respect and harmony.

Black Hawk Middle School students did a fantastic job of designing a thriving community in their city of Basabillion. Not to mention that it’s always good to know we have a young generation of Star Wars enthusiasts.

All the students displayed great passion and talent for designing their cities. We would like to congratulate all the teams at the Future Cities competition. We hope to see you involved in local government one day!

See recaps of past Future City Regional Finals and the Building Quality Communities Award winners:

What Makes 'Crystal Waters' Sparkle? Future City Competition 2016

Future City 2015 and the Building Quality Communities Award

Cities of the Future as Imagined by Students of Today (2014)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Spotted: Minnesota City Officials at the 2017 Leadership Conferences

Hundreds of city officials across Minnesota started the new year running by attending one of the 2017 Leadership Conferences!



Newly elected officials gathered in both Mankato and Bloomington (with one training yet to go in February) to get the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their new municipal roles. Meanwhile, experienced officials connected in Bloomington to discuss race equity and how to ensure city policies shape our communities in a way that all feel welcome.


An attendee chats with workshop presenter and Shorewood Finance
Director Bruce DeJong during a break at the Newly Elected
Officials Leadership Conference in Mankato, held Jan. 20-21.

Topics covered at the Newly Elected Officials Leadership Conference
include a 20,000-foot view of their responsibilities as a city leader,
finance fundamentals and the budgeting process, the ethical responsibilities
and legal realities of public office, and how to create more collaborative councils.


Attorney Korine Land reviews a city council's authority and limitations
with nearly 200 newly elected officials who attended the Bloomington location .


Julie Nelson, senior vice president at the Center for Social
Inclusion (CSI), welcomes attendees to the 2017 Leadership Conference
for Experienced Officials, while her co-presenter Glenn Harris
(R, sitting on the stage) - president of CSI - listens in.

More than 100 city officials from across Minnesota
gathered in Bloomington Jan. 27-28 to focus on race equity and
discuss how we can make our communities more inclusive.


Presenter Glenn Harris leads attendees in an exercise on race equity.


A big thanks to all of you who participated in one of our 2017 Leadership Conferences! And we're looking forward to seeing even more of you at the final Newly Elected Officials Leadership Conference (Feb. 24-25 in Brainerd).

Here's to a great new year for *all* Minnesota's cities and leaders!


Photo credit: LMC staff


Monday, January 23, 2017

Highlights from the Jan-Feb 2017 Issue of Minnesota Cities Magazine

The Jan-Feb issue of Minnesota Cities magazine is here! Start the new year off right with inspiration,
ideas, and important background on city issues that will affect our work in 2017.

Some of the highlights:

"Bonding omnibus bill"—it's a fancy term to describe how the state helps fund projects like construction of water treatment facilities and road reconstruction that impact your residents every. day. See what went wrong during the last legislative session (where legislators failed to pass a bonding bill) and how cities left in the lurch are responding in 2017 Legislative Session: Seeking State Funds for Crumbling Infrastructure.

You know the saying, "Once a strategic planning consultant, always a strategic planning consultant." In his column, Executive Director Dave Unmacht shares some of his expertise for making your city's next sit-down a healthy and productive one in St. Paul to City Hall: The Making of a Successful Strategic-Planning Session.

Does your city's good news deserve a standing ovation, but it sounds more like crickets? See how you can break through to get important city news and events picked up by local news outlets in Message Matters: How to Get the Media to Cover Your (Good) City News.
 
And as always, check out From the Bench for summaries of recent court cases, Ideas in Action to see the latest and greatest city projects and programs, and Bits & Briefs for a roundup of city conversation-starters.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Advocacy and Economic Development in Greater MN Cities




Economic development is more important than ever for cities in Greater Minnesota that want to strengthen their communities and maintain or improve quality of life for residents. Past LMC Board President Steve Nasby, city administrator of Windom, knows the issue inside and out. His experience has taught him that seemingly unrelated issues like workforce housing, good roads, and access to broadband, can make all the difference when attracting employers to set up shop in your city. In this video, Nasby shares his thoughts on getting your city's voice heard at the Capitol on these important issues—regardless of where you are in the state.