Minnesota Cities magazine, Nov-Dec 2014

Hail to the Chiefs
Police chiefs have a new way to
demonstrate professionalism. PAGE 17
Patience Pays Off
After diligent study, Medina found
the perfect solution to its need for
extra space. PAGE 34
Building a
to Success
2015 Newly Elected Officials
Leadership Conference
Visit www.lmc.org/events
for more information.
Learn about your legal roles and responsibilities,
how to balance the expectations of public office, and
the keys to building effective relationships.
Jan. 9-10 . . . . . .
Jan. 23-24. . . . .
Jan. 30-31. . . . .
Feb. 20-21 . . . .
Brooklyn Center
2015 Experienced Officials
Leadership Conference
Get grounded in leading civic engagement
practices and learn how to design strategies
that align engagement objectives, tools, and
practices with community needs.
Jan. 30-31 . . . .Brooklyn Center
2015 Joint Legislative
Conference for Cities, Counties,
Schools, and Townships
Join hundreds of your local government
peers in St. Paul to share important local
issues with state legislative leaders.
March 5 . . . St. Paul
2015 LMC Annual Conference
Gather with city officials from across Minnesota to network, hear
inspiring speakers, get a fun and informative legislative update, and
learn ways to keep your city moving in a positive direction.
June 24-26 . . . Duluth
Strategic Planning: Building a Roadmap to
Mayor Coleman’s Year as NLC President
Credentialing of the Professional Police Chief
Ensuring Success in Succession Planning
3 As I See It
The Importance of Elected Office
4 Bits & Briefs
Better hearing aids at council meetings, a bee-safe
resolution, and more
7 Two-Way Street
What Is Your City’s Approach to Youth Curfews?
34 Ideas in Action
Medina’s Space Expansion Success
Legal Ease
23 Letter of the Law
The Mayor’s Power at Council Meetings
24 From the Bench
Group Objects to Ten Commandments in City Plaza
Up for Discussion
30 Ask LMC
On the web
When the Winning City Council Candidate Doesn’t
Want to Serve
32 Let’s Talk
Check out Minnesota Cities
online, where you can
add to the discussion by
posting your comments!
Visit www.mncities.org.
The Perks of Having a Regional Safety Group
37 2014 Index
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Tim Busse | Councilmember, Bloomington
Jo Emerson | Mayor, White Bear Lake
Elizabeth Glidden | Councilmember, Minneapolis
Debbie Goettel | Mayor, Richfield
Matthew Hylen | City Administrator, St. Francis
Ron Johnson | Councilmember, Bemidji
Mike Mornson | City Manager, Hopkins
Carol Mueller | Councilmember, Mounds View
Heidi Omerza | Councilmember, Ely
Brian Scholin | Councilmember, Pine City
Charlene Stevens | City Administrator, Willmar
Chris Tolbert | Councilmember, St. Paul
Chris Coleman
NLC President
Mayor, St. Paul
Shaunna Johnson
LMC Past President
City Administrator, Waite Park
Randy Wilson
CGMC Representative
Mayor, Glencoe
Brad Wiersum
Metro Cities Representative
Councilmember, Minnetonka
On the web
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EDITOR Claudia Hoffacker | [email protected]
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As I See It
The Importance of Elected Office
his fall, most Minnesota cities will
hold municipal elections and with
them will come many new arrivals
to elected office. These elections always
remind me of a program for candidates
aspiring to local and state elected office
that I participated in several years ago.
Mostly, I found the experience very
rewarding; it was reassuring to see the
attention given to the importance of
elected office and to helping those seeking
office better understand the implications. I
was also impressed that so many candidates saw it as important enough to spend
an entire day learning about the realities of
what they hoped to experience.
I was startled, however, by the comments from one presenter, a newspaper
editor, when he said that for the most
part, he didn’t think it really mattered
much who got elected. He claimed he
wasn’t trying to be personally offensive
or provocative; he simply felt that the
political, legal, and resource restraints
on elected officials essentially afford little
discretion and, therefore, who holds
public office matters less than one might
want to think.
Certainly elected officials today
operate in an environment filled with
many constraints. At the state level, some
incumbent legislators privately bemoan
the party discipline and potential sanctions, such as withholding campaign
financing, if they do not follow their
caucus leadership. Mayors and city councilmembers point out how the ever-ex-
panding number and cost of mandates,
along with inadequate resources to meet
them, increasingly limit their discretion
to meet priorities.
So, while it is perhaps not completely
surprising that the newspaper editor
came to his conclusion, I nevertheless
think he was fundamentally wrong. It
matters profoundly whom we elect. Government’s effectiveness and value are ultimately determined by the quality of the
services it provides, even in the presence
of mandates, and also by the wisdom and
integrity of the public policy decisions
it makes. It requires judgment—sound
judgment—to deliver quality service
and to make the best public
policy decisions in the interest
of all. This depends on the
integrity and conscientiousness, and sometimes courage,
of the individuals making the
This is always true, but perhaps most obvious in times of
extreme need. When a tornado
or a flood strikes, for example,
the community first looks to
the mayor and city council for
leadership and reassurance.
One of our country’s greatest
natural disasters occurred on Memorial
Day 1899, when a horrific flood almost
completely destroyed Johnstown, Pennsylvania. At least 2,200 people lost their
lives that day. (Read David McCullough’s
The Johnstown Flood for a vivid account).
One of the very first tasks of the survivors
was to reconstitute their local government.
They wanted people of sound judgment
determining their collective future.
The quality of elected leadership
matters not only in emergencies, but
also day in and day out, as individual
decisions cumulatively shape the quality
of our lives. When a city council decides
to close a golf course and sell the land
for development or retain it for open
space, or to widen or not widen a street,
it involves tradeoffs and that involves
judgment. How elected officials exercise
that judgment truly does matter.
Elected officials must constantly weigh
impacts on some versus others, along with
the short- versus long-term consequences
of their decisions. Such tradeoffs require
The quality of elected
leadership matters not only in
emergencies, but also day
in and day out, as individual
decisions cumulatively shape
the quality of our lives.
sound judgment, and that simply cannot
be guaranteed by filling our elected offices
with any available warm body.
The editor may have been correct
that there are significant constraints on
elected officials, but the decisions they
make matter greatly. The issues facing state and local government are too
complex and consequential to leave to
just anybody. We must do a better job of
instilling in our young people the importance of public service.
We must also challenge those like the
editor when the importance of elected
office is undervalued. And we must do
what we can to encourage good candidates
to seek office, and hold them accountable
for fulfilling their responsibilities.
In January, many new elected officials
will come to our city halls and state
Capitol. At times they may think the job
seems thankless, but hopefully, they will
never see it as unimportant. Nothing
could be further from the truth. What
they do and how they choose to do it will
make all the difference. MC
Jim Miller is executive director of the
League of Minnesota Cities. Contact:
[email protected] or (651) 281-1205.
On the web
Share comments about this
topic at www.mncities.org.
Click on “As I See It,” and post
your comments below the story.
Bits & Briefs
On a Roll Toward
Lower Fuel Costs
City workers who spend most of their
time behind the wheel may have more
power than you think to control fuel
costs. The City of Yonkers, New York, has
enlisted the help of Ecodriving Solutions
to train their fleet drivers in “eco-driving,”
safe driving skills that maximize miles
per gallon while reducing emissions.
The concept was first developed in the
1990s, and is largely based in knowledge of modern engine technology. Efficient driving skills are credited with reducing fuel consumption by 5 to 20 percent in the government and corporate fleets
that embrace it. Learn more about ecodriving at www.dot.ny.gov/ecodriving.
A Tastier Downtown
Red Wing
The City of Red Wing’s downtown was in need of additional
restaurant spots to fill empty
storefronts and feed hungry
visitors. So the city’s Port
Authority and the nonprofit Red
Wing Downtown Main Street
created the “Red Wing Restaurant Challenge” to do just that,
and successfully attracted two
new restaurateurs. Organizers
of the challenge put together a
cash and incentive package, nearly $40,000 in value, which was offered up to the
best restaurant concepts received by the spring deadline. The bulk of the package
was funded through a grant award while local businesses that would also benefit
from additional activity downtown pitched in with professional services, including
advertising, legal counsel, apparel, and an energy audit to get the new businesses
off the ground. Four finalists presented to five judges before first- and second-place
winners were named, according to PostBulletin.com. Organizers say the contest
may have contributed to several other lease signings in the area.
Bank Accounts Against Crime
A police department in Langley Park, Maryland, has teamed up with local banks and a nonprofit to reduce violence and crime targeted at undocumented workers, according to National
Public Radio (NPR). Undocumented workers in the U.S. are often reluctant to open bank
accounts, opting instead to keep their pay in their pockets, according to the report. When
targeted for their cash earnings by thieves, these “walking ATMs” are also reluctant to report the
crimes—even when they are hurt—for fear that police will ask about their immigration status.
While police are increasing patrols and educating officers about the problem, a local nonprofit
has started hosting seminars where workers can open bank accounts using a passport or a
U.S. taxpayer identification number, which is obtainable regardless of immigration status. By
reducing the number of cash-carrying migrants and creating more awareness, community
leaders say they have reduced known robberies in half and increased arrests, creating a safer
community for everyone. Read the NPR story at http://n.pr/1rfZ1eK.
To Hear,
Loud and Clear
A new Minnesota nonprofit, Loop
Minnesota, wants to bring better assistive
hearing technology into the council
chambers of Minnesota cities. While
traditional hearing aids crank the volume
on all noise, the wish of those with the
most common forms of hearing loss is to
turn down the background chatter while
amplifying the voice of a speaker. Loop
Minnesota wants cities to know that
technology called an induction/hearing
loop is now available to help achieve
this clarity. An induction/hearing loop
was recently installed in the City of St.
Louis Park’s council chambers. There the
technology is used not only by citizens
in the audience, but also by one of the
councilmembers, who said the technology dramatically improved his ability to
hear speakers. For more information,
visit www.loopminnesota.org.
Bits & Briefs
A Bee-Safe
The City of Shorewood has become the first city
in Minnesota to pass a resolution dedicated to
the health of the honey bee population. Shorewood’s “Bee-Safe Resolution” prohibits the use
of systemic pesticides on public property and
makes it a priority to provide education about
the importance of pollinators to the food supply
and ecosystem. The use of systemic pesticides,
specifically neonicotinoids, are under the
microscope as a possible contributor to
dramatic dying off of honey bees over the
past decade. The city will also support the
planting of clover in three city parks to
provide bee-friendly habitat. This
wouldn’t be the first time Shorewood has been a “first,” according
to the Star Tribune. Shorewood
and Minneapolis were the first
Minnesota cities to ban the use
of fertilizer with phosphorous,
which contributes to contamination of groundwater.
Newly Elected Officials:
2015 Leadership Conference
Jan. 9-10–Cohasset
Jan. 23-24–Mankato
Jan. 30-31–Brooklyn Center
Feb. 20-21–Alexandria
Experienced Officials:
2015 Leadership Conference
Jan. 30-31–Brooklyn Center
Innovation in
Let’s Keep It Civilized
Being passionate about your community
is what makes you a great city official or
employee. But when passions flare and
behavior crosses the line into incivility,
everyone suffers. To help when things get
heated, the League of Minnesota Cities
and the Minnesota City/County Management Association (MCMA) have gathered
resources to help cities navigate and
deal with common sources of incivility in
government, including ideological clashes,
personality conflicts, and stressful events.
These resources are designed to get your
local government through a difficult time
and back on track to serving the community you love. Access the resources at
We all know that innovation in
government is one key to healthy
democracies and thriving communities. But what prompts innovation
in government,
how does it succeed, and what
are the usual
suspects that
stand in the way
of public-sector evolution?
Author Sandford Borins, a
public management professor
and a research fellow in government
innovation, analyzed 20 years of
government innovation to identify
some recurring answers to these
basic questions and more
in his latest book, The Persistence of
Innovation in Government. Learn
more at http://bit.ly/1wMHxpU.
2015 Legislative Conference
for Cities, Counties, Schools &
March 5–St. Paul
2015 Safety & Loss Control
March 25–Mahnomen
March 26–Alexandria
April 1–Morton
April 2–North Mankato
April 7–St. Cloud
April 14–Rochester
April 16–Brooklyn Park
April 21–St. Paul
April 23–Grand Rapids
On the web
Learn more about these
and other events at
6 |
For more information on the 4M Fund and the PMA fixed rate programs,
CITIES Kent Johnson at 763-497-1490 ext. 1300.
Two-Way Street
What Is Your City’s Approach
to Youth Curfews?
The first curfew ordinance for the City
of Red Wing was implemented on July 5,
1895. It was described as “an ordinance to
prevent riots, noise disturbance, and disorderly assemblages in the City of Red Wing
or any disorderly conduct in public places.”
Today the ordinance has evolved and
covers minors under the age of 15 between the hours of 10
p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. to 5
a.m. Friday and Saturday. For minors who are 15 to 17 years
old, the hours of restriction are between 12:01 a.m. and 5 a.m.
every day.
Why a curfew?
Law enforcement officials are tasked with providing for the
safety of their community while ensuring the constitutional
rights of all citizens. Understanding the intent and purpose of
the statutes established by our elected officials is key to ensuring the consistent and fair enforcement of these laws.
Let’s look at the 11 curfew violations in Red Wing in 2013.
Each one started out as a suspicious activity call, someone
hanging out in an area that is normally vacant at that time of
night, or someone looking into parked vehicles. The curfew
statute, along with the call from citizens, provided officers the
reasonable suspicion to detain the individual in each case and
further investigate whether or not a crime has occurred.
Officers also possess the discretion to allow minors to carry
out essential or authorized business during the hours of curfew. Some exceptions to the curfew statute allow for going to
the store to pick up medicine or supplies for a sick parent, and
the legal employment of a minor that may require working
after hours. Officers verify and allow the minor to continue
under exceptions such as these.
Community tool
The curfew law is an excellent community tool for keeping
our residents safe, whether reducing property crimes (thefts
and property damage) or preventing crimes against people
(assaults and human trafficking). As law enforcement officials,
we strive to work with the community to provide for discussion and understanding of the curfew laws. This helps to
support responsible decisions by our youth and a vital process
of engagement that directly contributes to the satisfaction
of being part of the community we live in. As we like to say,
“Stay aware, stay safe!”
As far as we can tell, there has been a curfew for youth in the City of New Ulm for
more than 100 years. The earliest record of
a curfew is in the City Council minutes of
April 7, 1903, and ultimately Ordinance No.
74. Curfew times were set at 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
during the spring, summer, and fall months,
with an 8 p.m. curfew start time for the winter.
Changes to the curfew ordinance
The curfew times were repealed in 1943 with Ordinance No.
173, which set the curfew for children under 16 years of age
between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. all year round. Our
curfew has changed over time to reflect and accommodate our
community’s evening youth activities and events.
Currently, City Code, Section 8.30 states the following:
“Curfew. Minors under the age of 16, curfew is from 12 a.m.
(midnight) through 5 a.m. Exception. Such curfew shall not
apply to any students under 16 years who are lawfully attending, going to, or returning from school, church, or community-sponsored athletic, musical, or social activities or events.”
According to a Brown County pamphlet, “Curfew laws restrict
the rights of kids to be outdoors or in public places during
certain hours of the day. Such laws aim to establish a safer
community and better protect children from negative influences that they might encounter while wandering around late
at night.”
Along those lines, the three primary reasons we have a curfew
in New Ulm are:
1. Crime deterrence. With a curfew, we have fewer instances
of trespassing, damage to property, and lower-level crimes.
2. Parental assistance. In many cases, parents were unaware
that their child had snuck out of the house.
3. Youth guidance. It is a proactive way to help keep young
people out of trouble.
Other issues to consider
A community must balance curfew regulations with our
young citizens’ civil liberties such as the right to peacefully
assemble. We in New Ulm—and I think most communities—believe that a curfew helps create a safer community and
helps guide our youth toward responsible behavior. If history
teaches us anything, curfews will likely change again to reflect
our community’s needs or youth activities in the future. MC
Building a
to Success
ention “strategic planning” at a party full of city administrators, and you’ll likely get a mixed reaction. Indeed, the term
has suffered from a “bad rap” over the years, according to Dave
Unmacht, a consultant with three decades of experience managing cities
and counties in Minnesota.
Strategic planning’s tainted reputation is partly due, ironically, to one of
its strengths—its flexibility. Because the planning process can vary widely
city to city, everyone seems to have a different definition of what strategic
planning means. So, it’s not uncommon to hear the process regularly disparaged as a simplistic “Kumbaya” exercise with no real impact.
However, a more optimistic definition of strategic planning is alive and
well in many Minnesota cities that have thoughtfully executed well-designed, tailored strategic plans, and have stayed committed to them.
Instead of viewing a strategic plan as an overwrought document gathering dust on a shelf, these cities view their plans as dynamic roadmaps for
setting priorities and guiding city staff and elected officials toward reaching
targeted goals.
The strategic-planning process begins with a retreat-style group meeting
that can last a single afternoon or two or three days. Completing a plan
can take a few days, or a few weeks, or it can last more than a year. It all
depends on a city’s size, its resources, and what it’s trying to accomplish.
The resulting workplan document can be very simple or complex, depending on the city’s needs.
The average cost of implementing a strategic plan (including process
facilitation) can range as low as $1,000 to $2,000, or up to $25,000 to
$35,000, according to Unmacht. Costs vary based on the scope of services,
number of meetings, and the length of the process.
The cities of Carver and Hopkins are featured here as just two examples
of cities that have successfully taken the plunge into strategic planning.
While they differ in their size, challenges, and opportunities, officials from
both cities say strategic planning has helped strengthen their communities.
With strategic planning, they are building consensus about how to
spend money; managing and completing long-overdue projects; communicating city priorities with citizens; and helping city officials think strategically about where their cities have been and where they are going.
Carver city officials have worked hard to integrate
the old and new parts of Carver into one unified
community. Here they stand in front of a home in
Copper Hills, one of the city’s newest mixed-use
developments, consisting of a public transit Park and
Ride, single-family homes, and apartments. From left:
Mayor Greg Osterdyk, Councilmember Cindy Monroe,
City Administrator Brent Mareck, Councilmember
Glen Henry, and Councilmember Mike Webb.
The small City of Carver in the Minnesota River valley (about 25 minutes
southwest of Minneapolis) boasts a
downtown that is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. As the oldest
town in Carver County, the city’s population stayed at about 1,000 people for
decades. But, starting in the year 2000,
along with the announcement that U.S.
Highway 212 would be expanded from
two lanes into a four-lane freeway, Carver
began growing exponentially, hitting
4,100 residents by 2014.
Carver City Administrator Brent
Mareck says the population
boom presented many challenges.
The suburban push into Carver
required new subdivisions and
additional residential development,
which inadvertently led to the
creation of two separate communities that seemed to be on different
paths. Mareck says there became
one Carver community over in the
new subdivisions by the freeway,
and another community in the
historic part of town.
Mareck says the city did not want
to become a series of disjointed
developments. So in 2010, the
Council discussed looking at strategic planning as a proactive tool
to give staff and elected officials greater
influence over the community’s identity
and character.
“The City Council was very
forward thinking,” says Mareck.
“They quickly agreed to a [strategic-planning] process to make
sure the new and historic parts of
the city could grow into the same
thing. They had a vision for what
they wanted Carver to be.”
Before embarking on a strategic
plan, Mareck began networking
with other cities to learn more
about it. He asked:
How did you do it?
What did you like and what didn’t you
like about the process?
Did you use a consultant or stay
“So you take those stories, you
hear ideas from other communities,
and then tailor the process to how
your city operates,” Mareck says.
In 2011, Carver hired Unmacht
to facilitate its strategic-planning
process, which led to the plan’s
adoption and implementation that
same year.
The City of Carver’s 13 full-time
staff from five departments got
together to brainstorm during a
one-day retreat. At that session,
they identified what they saw as the
issues facing the city at the time, as
well as forecasted city needs one, five and
10 years into the future.
Carver’s strategic plan (updated in 2013)
lists 18 measurable action items distributed
within Carver’s five larger “vision” catego-
ries of community identity, community vitality, community engagement,
organizational culture, and public
facilities. City staff are responsible for
completing action items by a target
date and providing the Council with
monthly progress reports.
“We really make a commitment to
follow through on action items and to
hold staff accountable,” says Mareck.
“We integrate the ‘vision’ goals into
our day-to-day operations by talking
about it and sharing it with the public, the
Council, and other commissions.”
Carver’s 2013-2014 plan is about 70
percent complete, and the city’s next planning session is scheduled for early 2015.
Mareck says he and city staff regard
Carver’s strategic plan as a “living thing”
that continues to evolve along with the city,
and that strategic planning has become an
integral part of the organization.
“It’s a team effort and everybody feels
like they’re contributing to the plan,” says
Mareck. “We can see the results out in
the community. So, it’s nice to have this
foundation that can be built upon and
keep growing.”
The City of Hopkins (population 18,000)
has been using goal setting and strategic
planning fairly consistently since the
mid-1990s. Initially, the process was
employed as a way to help the city find
(continued on page 10)
possible to establish buy-in and reinforce
accountability—both are central elements
Consultant Unmacht says he has helped
of a successful strategic plan.
many local governments establish individ“We actually quiz employees and ask
ualized strategic plans over the years. Still,
them: ‘Can somebody
he estimates that less than half of Minnetell me what our mission sota cities engage in an organized, formal,
statement is?’” says
and deliberate strategic-planning process.
Mornson. “We want
Cities that shy away from strategic
to drill down into the
planning do so for a variety of reasons.
organization. It’s not
Barriers include a lack of clarity on what
just the executive team
a city wants to do, or having had a bad
who needs to know
experience with the process in the past,
what the plan is. We
Unmacht says. But taking a closer look at
want the police officer
strategic planning is well worth the time
and the person who
and effort.
works on the sewer and
At its most basic, strategic planning is
water lines and the guy
an opportunity to talk about what’s most
who mows the lawn to
important to a city, says Unmacht, who is a
Hopkins City Administrator Mike Mornson in front of the Hopkins Center
understand it, too. We
passionate believer that strategic planning
for the Arts, a facility that probably wouldn’t have been developed if not
make sure that message
is one of the best ways for cities to follow
for the city’s strategic planning.
gets out to everybody.”
through on their obligations to citizens.
“It’s a fundamental responsibility of
review the strategic plan during a daycommunity
organization to allocate its resources
long retreat. Several strategies are then
especially when it’s constantly
developed and opportunities are identiorganizations.
do more and more in an
fied. The plan is anchored by three goals:
Preserve the small town feel of Hopthat have sprung from
the city’s goal-set Maintain and enhance a smart urban
ting process include
design, including the ability to walk to
stores and other amenities.
improvements to Main
Involve and engage citizens in future
Street and the city’s
plans for the city.
parks, creation of the
Mornson, who has been working for
Hopkins Center for the
Hopkins since 2011, facilitates the annual Arts, and the comretreats and encourages all 102 city staff
pletion of significant
members to take a good look at the city’s
redevelopment projects
mission and goals to make sure they
like the Cargill campus,
still feel fresh and relevant. Like most
which opened in 2008
goal-setting sessions, Mornson also asks
at the corner of HighMain Street improvements and the creation of a farmer’s market are some
his staff to anticipate demands facing the
way 169 and Excelsior
of the results of Hopkins’ goal-setting process.
city over the coming two years and to
look 10 to 15 years into the future.
Other examples of
The annual goal-setting process “opens city amenities that have
environment with less and less money,”
up communication and stimulates
emerged from Hopkins’ goal-setting
relationship building for the group, to
Unmacht says. “Strategic planning is a
process include a historic walking tour, a
get everybody on the same page,” says
farmer’s market, and “Hopkins Artstreet,” means to do that. It gives cities a way to
Mornson. “The bottom line is to continclearly develop their priorities.” MC
a program established in 2010. Each
ually improve communication between
year, new public artworks are installed
Council and staff.”
downtown, and residents are encouraged Marisa Helms is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer.
Each year when the Hopkins City
to vote for a favorite.
Council adopts its most up-to-date goals
“I’m a big believer in [goal setting],”
and strategic plan, the document is posted says Mornson. “To sit down and commuOn the web
on the city’s website, emailed to residents,
nicate your plan and agree on things you
and included in the employee newsletter
want to work on is very powerful. I can
To learn more about
and payroll stuffer. For Mornson, the goal
go back to each project and say had it not
Carver and Hopkins’
is to disseminate the plan as widely as
been for goal setting, that may not have
strategic plans, visit
gotten done as quickly or as well as it did.
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City Manager Mike Mornson says
each year Hopkins’ city staff and Council
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e’s testified in front of Congress,
welcomed President Obama and
other political leaders to St. Paul,
participated in wilderness trips with hundreds of kids and organizational volunteers, and worked tirelessly on issues such
as education, transportation, economic
development, and tax policy.
These are just a few of the things St.
Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has done
as president of the National League of
Cities (NLC). And while he admits he’s
not necessarily mourning the end of his
term as president—and the long hours
it takes to balance his day job with this
additional role—he’s proud of the work
he and his colleagues have done over
the past year. They’ve made progress
in raising the organization’s profile, he
says, and in helping St. Paul and cities
across the U.S. solve many problems
they face together.
His one-year term will end at the
NLC’s annual Congress of Cities this
November in Austin, Texas.
“It’s been a great year,” Coleman says.
“It has given me an opportunity to play a
role in the national conversation around
issues that are important to cities.”
Official issues of
Mayor Coleman’s Year as
ABOVE: Mayor Coleman testifies in front of the U.S. House Highways and Transit Subcommittee.
When Coleman took the helm, NLC was focusing on three
main policy priorities: passing immigration reform law, preserving the tax exemption on municipal bonds, and establishing
a sales tax for Internet commerce.
NLC is advocating for the federal government to provide a
plan for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a
path to citizenship, strong border enforcement, and support for
cities and towns to integrate immigrants into their communities
and allow them to make both cultural and economic contributions to the nation. Coleman says he and other NLC leaders
have been frustrated, as have many, with the lack of movement
on this issue.
NLC has been successful, he says, at building a coalition of
allies to fight against eliminating tax exemptions on municipal
bonds, arguing that eliminating them would shut down a lot of
infrastructure projects that are vital for cities. “It’s critical that
we not do that,” Coleman says.
He’s also hopeful that there can still be some movement this
year in closing the loophole on Internet sales tax collections. “We
haven’t accomplished the goal, but we think there is an opportunity after the elections to get something passed,” he says.
Ending the achievement gap
While NLC had its official set of issues, Coleman also brought
attention to some of the issues he is passionate about. He’s had
a voice on topics related to transportation, economic development, climate change, and the need for infrastructure improvements across the country.
Coleman is perhaps most passionate about education. He’s
done a lot of work in St. Paul, and now nationally, to try to
narrow the achievement gap between white students and
students of color. His efforts helped cement a memorandum
of understanding between NLC and the U.S. Department of
Education that gives mayors, city leaders, and their community
partners access to federal education leaders and an opportunity
to advance their local education priorities.
In addition, NLC hosted a two-day conference on social
and emotional learning. Coleman says several cities have used
elements of those discussions in their efforts at bridging the
achievement gap.
Coleman also believes it’s important for young people to
experience nature. One of the highlights of his term, he says,
was a trip to the Anacostia River at Bladensburg Waterfront
Park in Maryland. There, the Youth and America’s Great
Outdoors event brought together more than 400 kids, organizational leaders, and other participants for canoeing, rock
climbing, mountain biking, tent pitching, and educational
demonstrations centered around nature. More than 30 organizations participated in the event.
“I’m such a believer in kids being in the wilderness, and its
connection to kids gaining life skills,” Coleman says.
Mayor Coleman enjoyed
canoeing on the
Anacostia River and other
activities last summer
during the Youth and
America’s Great Outdoors
event in Maryland.
NLC appreciative of Coleman’s work
NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony said he
appreciates and is proud of the work Coleman did on education
as well as other issues.
Coleman encouraged cities to work with school boards and
the U.S. Department of Education to design programs and
initiatives that actually prepare kids for learning when they go to
school, Anthony says. Coleman also worked with Secretary of the
Interior Sally Jewell on a memorandum of understanding aimed
at providing more outdoor opportunities for young people.
“His focus on education has been unparalleled to any other
president we’ve had,” Anthony says.
In addition, he says, Coleman spent considerable time on
Capitol Hill meeting with elected officials and staff to ensure
that NLC was at the table and represented the voice of cities
across the country.
Coleman, who is the fourth NLC president from Minnesota,
“worked very hard with us internally as well as with his team at
the city of St. Paul to make sure that we elevated our brand and
that we became a relevant voice for cities nationally,” Anthony
says. “The mayor has done a wonderful job in leading our initiatives around those kinds of issues.”
Minnesota leaders take note
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, past president of the League
of Minnesota Cities, has taken note of Coleman’s efforts.
In addition to his work on educational issues, she says his
ability to get President Obama and many other high-ranking
federal officials to St. Paul elevated the exposure of the city and
the region. He likely built a lot of relationships that will provide
resources and brainpower going forward.
“He was able to bring a lot of heavy hitters from Washington,
D.C., here to Minnesota, and give them a chance to see where
(continued on page 14)
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“It’s really exciting to see those opportunities open up,”
we shine and where we could use their assistance,” Hodges says.
says. “And Chris is bright and on top of things, so he
“He was clearly being very deliberate about doing that. He was
should be able to seize those
deliberate about being an
opportunities and make the
excellent leader for the entire
most of them.”
organization, but also knowing
that his leadership there could
a lot of heavy hitters from
bear fruit at home.”
Proud of his city
Former Minnetonka Mayor
NLC’s Anthony says Coleman’s
Washington, D.C., here to
Karen Anderson, who served
legacy with the organization
Minnesota, and give them a
as NLC president in 2002, says
is cemented through his work
Coleman’s work on behalf of
on behalf of youth across the
chance to see where we shine
teenagers is praiseworthy. She
country. St. Paul is lucky to
and where we could use
adds that Coleman has done
have him as mayor, he adds.
their assistance.”
a wonderful job exposing the
“He’s a wonderful and inspiMINNEAPOLIS MAYOR BETSY HODGES
country to St. Paul and the
rational leader, who has a real
state of Minnesota.
passion about public service,”
More than 200 elected
Anthony says.
officials descended upon the Twin Cities in June for a sumFor his part, Coleman says he feels fortunate to have had
mer NLC board meeting. And visits by President Obama and
the opportunity to work with many leaders from across the
other dignitaries can only help the city in its marketing efforts,
country in his role as president and in previous NLC leadership
Anderson says.
positions. He, too, thinks that St. Paul may benefit from the
And the benefits of the year Coleman spent as NLC presiexperiences and connections he’s made through NLC.
dent and in other leadership positions will likely continue into
“It has exposed St. Paul to a larger national audience,” Colethe future, she adds. For one, while the role will be less formal,
man says. “And it has given me an opportunity to see what is
Coleman will probably be called upon to take on some addiworking in other cities and what’s not.” MC
tional responsibilities as past president. In addition, he’s built
Andrew Tellijohn is a freelance writer based in Richfield, Minnesota.
several relationships that will allow for the sharing and dispersing of best practices that will help locally and elsewhere.
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ven after 10 years of experience as a
police chief, Jeff McCormick jumped
at the chance to put his skills to the
test to earn his certification.
McCormick, police chief for the City
of Cannon Falls, served as president of
the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) when the organization was
developing its new certification program for chief law enforcement officials
(CLEOs). And he was one of the first
chiefs to sign up for the program.
The certification process is an opportunity for self-reflection, McCormick says.
“CLEO certification provides a roadmap”
for assessing the knowledge and skills it
takes to be successful as a police chief.
The MCPA formed a task force in 2012
to explore the idea of a credentialing program for CLEOs. The committee members
envisioned a program that, while voluntary, would represent the “gold standard”
of police administration, says Jeffrey
Bumgarner, criminal justice professor at
North Dakota State University, former
Minnesota police chief, and a member of
the MCPA Certification Task Force.
The goal of the program, which
launched in August 2014, is to advance
professionalism and leadership in law
enforcement. The hope is that CLEO certification will come to indicate a police
chief ’s attainment of education, training,
and experience in specific core areas.
When Cannon Falls City Administrator Ron Johnson learned of McCor-
mick’s desire to apply for certification, he
was 100 percent in favor of it. “I’m very
supportive of employees who want to
raise their level of education and commitment within their profession and to
our community,” Johnson says. “Chief
McCormick’s interest in participating in
the CLEO certification process shows a
level of commitment to continue to strive
to be better.”
The core areas that must be mastered for
CLEO certification include the following:
Organizational management refers
to all aspects of leadership, including
communication and problem-solving,
as well as areas such as risk management, policy development, legal issues,
strategic planning, dealing with the
media, handling crises, and emergency
Personnel management includes
developing employees, discipline, internal affairs, data practices, hiring and
firing, training, and labor relations.
Personal development relates to
matters governing the police chief ’s
inward practices and abilities, including time management, political awareness, legislative relations, personal
leadership, and mentoring.
Finance and budget management
includes sub-areas such as grant
writing and administration, public accounting, budget preparation,
cost-benefit analysis, and budget oversight and accountability.
Technology includes electronic
records management, crime mapping
and analysis, radio interoperability,
public safety answering points, and
emerging technologies.
Ethics includes ethical leadership,
multicultural awareness, moral decision-making, and modeling ethical
These core areas, although distinct, are
interrelated and share many junctions
with one another, Bumgarner says. While
a police chief ’s need to draw from the well
of these core areas might vary in scope
and frequency depending on the size
and location of the police agency, MCPA
leaders believe the certification criteria is
appropriate for chiefs in all types of police
departments around the state.
To determine whether CLEOs seeking
certification have mastered the above
core areas, they are scored in the following five categories:
Higher education
Formal continuing education
Years of experience as a CLEO
Community service and involvement
in professional associations
Contribution to the profession
Johnson says he thinks the core areas
and scoring categories are important to
demonstrate the skill, knowledge, and
commitment of a police chief. Certification
(continued on page 18)
“will not only increase Chief McCormick’s
ability to serve his department better,” he
says, “but the program’s requirement that
the participant is scored through community-related service will benefit the entire
Cannon Falls community.”
Three Rivers Park District Police Chief
Hugo McPhee says, although it was
straightforward, he found the application
process to be fairly rigorous. “It’s not a
rubber stamp,” he says.
Like McCormick, McPhee—who is
also a 10-year police chief veteran—was
excited about the certification and among
the first to apply.
The process required a thorough
self-assessment and exposed areas that
might be bolstered through additional
training and education, McPhee says,
adding that he was encouraged that the
criteria is broad enough in scope and
application to include non-municipal
settings such as his.
The criteria for CLEO certification was
developed with input from a broad array
of subject matter experts, including police
chiefs, and representatives from higher
education, the Peace Officer Standards
and Training (POST) Board, the Minne-
Certification “is one more way of
attesting to political and public
constituencies that
in their administration
and delivery of law
enforcement services.”
sota Department of Public Safety, and city
administrative and elected officials.
McPhee predicts that when CLEO certification becomes more widely known,
as it inevitably will, it will distinguish the
exceptionally qualified law enforcement
executives in the state.
Cambridge City Administrator Linda
Woulfe agrees, saying the certification
will provide guidance when hiring a
new police chief. Because of all of the
program’s requirements, cities can be
confident that a certified police chief will
have a well-rounded skill set, she says.
Bumgarner says the credentialing of
police administrators is a part of the
profession’s future. There is a growing
intolerance in society for inept public
leadership in government. People
want exceptionally qualified men
and women in positions
of authority and power.
People also want accountability.
Accreditation of
police agencies in the
United States has been around
for decades. Now CLEO certification offers an accreditation
of sorts for police executives in Minnesota, Bumgarner adds. “It is one more
way of attesting to political and public
constituencies that our police leaders are
extraordinarily qualified and professional
in their administration and delivery of
law enforcement services.”
To learn more about the CLEO certification program, visit www.mnchiefs.org/
cleo-certifications. MC
Claudia Hoffacker is web content and publications
manager with the League of Minnesota Cities.
Contact: [email protected] or (651) 215-4032.
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Ensuring Success
in Succession
few years ago, many of us started sounding the “sky is falling”
alarm about the pending wave of baby boomer retirements
and the need to start working on succession plans.
Then the recession hit and the wave of retirements ebbed as
employees rode out the recession waiting for their pensions to
recover. But now the expected retirements have started, harkening the need for succession planning to start in earnest.
The truth is, succession planning is about more than preparing to replace long-time management and leadership positions.
It is about ensuring the health and success of the city in both
the short and long term.
Short-term goals
In the short term, succession planning is about understanding
the key activities of the city and making sure that policies and
procedures are documented, staff is trained, and all employees
understand their role in the organization’s operations.
You might think of this as the classic “hit by a bus” scenario. What if an employee, whether management or line staff,
suddenly couldn’t come to work for an extended period of
time? Would valuable institutional knowledge disappear? Have
others been trained or mentored so that they could step into the
position temporarily? Can you assure that key operations can
continue in the absence of staff?
Long-term goals
In the long term, succession planning is about the above shortterm goals as well as making sure there is a pool of people—
both internal and external—to fill positions as people leave. To
do this successfully, cities need to pay particular attention to
attracting and retaining the next generation of public servants.
Let’s face it, very few children say, “I want to be a bureaucrat
when I grow up.” (I’ve only met two people in my career who
knew early on they were destined for public service). Most of us
back in to public service professions and discover our passion
for it only after stumbling into public sector work.
Getting it done
So what can cities do to help ensure long-term success in succession planning, including attracting and retaining the next
generation of public servants? Here are some ideas:
Tie strategic planning and succession planning together.
Do you need to keep doing everything you do now? Could
some things be done differently? Are there new things that
need to be done? What opportunities for change might
succession planning create? How might the skills of the next
generation shape the way your organization runs?
Identify the skills and knowledge needed for key tasks
in your city. What does this mean for your training and
recruiting needs? Where can you reach out to find the types
of people you need? What training and professional development can you do with current employees to get them ready to
assume new positions?
Create partnerships that attract the next generation.
Work with local high schools, colleges, and universities to
bring the next generation into your city through shadow
boards, youth councils, internships, etc. Make sure the work
is meaningful and taps into the skills of the next generation.
Build on their passion to make a difference in their communities. Think about how, in the words of President Obama,
we “make government cool again.”
Incorporate things that attract younger workers like
flexible hours when possible, good pay, collegiality, a sense of
purpose, and inclusivity of an increasingly diverse workforce.
Create welcoming workplaces with training, coaching, and
mentoring programs that bridge the generations and make
the most of the skills of a diverse workforce.
Hurdles to clear
In a 2007 survey of local government officials, the Waters
Consulting Group identified the following as some of the most
common barriers to succession planning:
Leadership’s reluctance to take it on.
Inadequate information about how to do succession planning.
Excessive costs or lack of resources.
Too many other work demands.
The reality is the wave of retirements is coming, and cities
can’t let these barriers hold them back. Succession planning is
important for the long-term health of cities, which are responsible for serving the public good. To learn more, see the League of
Minnesota Cities’ Workforce Planning Toolkit at www.lmc.org/
wkforceplanning. MC
Kris Norman-Major is director of public administration programs for the Hamline University
School of Business (www.hamline.edu/business). The Hamline School of Business is a
member of the League’s Business Leadership Council (www.lmc.org/sponsors).
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St. Paul
Letter of the Law | Legal Ease
The Mayor’s Power at Council Meetings
o you ever have questions about the mayor’s power and role
at council meetings? Well, you are not alone! The following
are answers to five common questions asked by city staff
and officials on this topic.
1. Can a mayor vote at council meetings, or is the mayor
only allowed to vote to break ties? In statutory cities, the
mayor has the same power as any other councilmember and has
the authority to vote any time the council is voting. The mayor
should not be limited to only voting when there is a tie.
the other hand, are governed by state statute. Mayors of charter
cities may have more limited or expanded powers than mayors
of statutory cities, depending on what the charter says.
4. Can the city pass a resolution to limit or remove the
mayor’s right to vote? No. In
Charter cities in
statutory cities, the authority for
Minnesota (12.5%)
the mayor to vote comes from
state statute. Unless expressly
authorized (which it is not in
this circumstance), cities may
not pass any resolutions or ordinances trumping state statute. In
charter cities, the mayor’s power
to vote is governed by the city’s
Statutory cities in
Minnesota (87.5%)
charter. Only 107 of Minnesota’s
853 cities are charter cities.
2. Is the answer to question 1 true even if the city has a
weak mayor-council plan? The name of this form of organization can be deceiving. The term “weak mayor” doesn’t mean
that the mayor has less ability or authority to act as part of the
council. Instead, it means that the mayor’s powers are no greater
than those of any other member of the council.
There are limited exceptions where the mayor has different powers. One exception is that the mayor is the presiding
5. What kind of power does
officer at council meetings.
a mayor have when making appointments for council
Some believe presiding over a
vacancies? In this circumstance, a statutory mayor’s vote does
meeting means that a mayor
have more weight than the rest of the council, but only if there
can’t make motions or express
is a tie. That means all members of the council, including the
his or her opinion. There is
mayor, can vote on the appointment. In a tie vote, the mayor
nothing in state statute that
can appoint whomever the
provides for this prohibition.
mayor would like to fill the
Mayors actually can make
council vacancy. This unique
and second motions (like any
power comes from state statute.
What happens if a councilmember is absent
other member of the council)
State law does not limit a
from a council meeting and the vote on a
and are allowed to share what
mayor’s ability to make this
resolution is tied?
they think on issues before
A The mayor gets to vote again and break the tie.
appointment when there is
the city.
B The resolution fails due to a lack of a majority.
a tie vote. That means that
Side note: The only three
C It wasn’t a tie because the mayor should not have
the mayor can appoint any
voted in the first place.
cities in Minnesota with strong
qualified person willing to fill
The answer is B because the mayor’s vote has the same
mayor-council plans are St.
the vacancy, even if that person
weight as any other councilmember’s vote.
Paul, Duluth, and St. Cloud.
was not considered in the origiOnly charter cities can have
nal appointment vote.
this form of organization.
Aside from this exception,
Some charters provide that mayors in strong mayor-council plans statutory mayors do not have authority to break tie votes in
are not considered councilmembers, but can veto council legislaother circumstances.
tion subject to the council’s override of the veto by an extraordiNow that we’ve covered the basics, you likely feel more
nary majority.
knowledgeable about what mayors can and cannot do in council meetings. If you are still a little fuzzy, feel free to contact the
3. What does being a home rule charter city have to do
League of Minnesota Cities Research and Information Services
with a mayor’s voting power? One of the significant differdepartment at [email protected] or (651) 281-1200. MC
ences between charter and statutory cities is that charter cities
Irene Kao is a research attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: [email protected]
are governed by their home rule charters. Statutory cities, on
or (651) 281-1224.
Legal Ease | From the Bench
Group Objects to Ten Commandments
in City Plaza
Ten Commandments monument
In 1958, the Fraternal Order of Eagles donated a Ten Commandments monument that sits on the city’s civic plaza
and displays the Ten Commandments alongside other symbols
such as the American flag and an
“all-seeing eye” within a pyramid.
The Red River Freethinkers sued,
claiming the monument’s location
violates the First Amendment’s
Establishment Clause, which
prohibits the government from
making any law “respecting an
establishment of religion.” The
federal district court granted
summary judgment in the city’s
favor. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the monument does not violate the Establishment
Clause. The Court of Appeals reasoned that the “monument
makes passive—and permissible—use of the text of the Ten
Commandments to acknowledge the role of religion in our
nation’s heritage.” Red River Freethinkers v. City of Fargo,
(8th Cir. 2014).
No offset for PERA retirement benefits
While working for the county, Sharyn Hartwig was permanently and totally disabled because of a work injury. She
sued, challenging the decision by the Minnesota Counties
Intergovernmental Trust to offset her workers’ compensation benefits by the amount of Public Employees Retirement
Association (PERA) retirement benefits she was receiving.
The offset provision in state statute provides that after
$25,000 in compensation has been paid, the compensation
for permanent total disability benefits shall be reduced by
benefits paid by “any government disability benefit program” and by “any old age and survivor insurance benefits.”
The Minnesota Supreme Court held that PERA retirement
benefits are not subject to the offset, reasoning that the term
“any old age and survivor insurance benefits” should be
interpreted to refer only to “federal social security benefits
received by an injured worker pursuant to the Social Security Act.” The Supreme Court also held that the offset does
not apply to the receipt of Teachers Retirement Association
retirement benefits in a separate appeal. Hartwig v. Traverse
Care Center,
(Minn. 2014).
Challenge to performance review
Schwanke, a county employee, challenged his performance
evaluation under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, claiming that it was “inaccurate and incomplete.”
The county sheriff responded that the evaluation was
correct, and Schwanke
appealed to the Minnesota Department of
The Supreme Court
Administration (DOA).
reasoned that mere
The DOA dismissed
Schwanke’s appeal,
dissatisfaction with a
concluding that he was
challenging his employsubjective judgment
er’s subjective opinions
rather than the “accuor opinion cannot
racy and completeness”
of government data.
support a challenge
The Minnesota Court
of Appeals ruled in
to a performance
Schwanke’s favor, and
the Minnesota Supreme
Court affirmed.
The Supreme Court
held that the DOA must order a contested case hearing
before an administrative law judge when a public employee
challenges the accuracy and completeness of data in a
performance review and the DOA is unable to resolve the
dispute. The Supreme Court reasoned that mere dissatisfaction with a subjective judgment or opinion cannot support a
challenge to a performance evaluation, but that an employee
can challenge facts in a performance evaluation that can
be proven “incomplete or inaccurate.” The Supreme Court
also held that, although an employee cannot raise new
challenges to a performance evaluation in an administrative
appeal, an employee can introduce new evidence that has
not previously been presented to the government employer.
Schwanke v. Minnesota Department of Administration,
Trespass claim
In 2005, several property owners sued the city for trespass
and ejectment based on the location of a public gravel road
that the city constructed in 1962 and rebuilt in 1971 that
deviated from the platted path onto their private property.
The district court dismissed the property owners’ claims.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed in part and
From the Bench | Legal Ease
reversed in part. The Court of Appeals reasoned that the
city’s actions of constructing a gravel road constituted a
permanent and not a continuing trespass; therefore, the
applicable six-year statute of limitations prevented the property owners from bringing a trespass claim. But the Court of
Appeals also held that the city’s argument that the property
owners’ ejectment claim was barred by the doctrine of
laches should be remanded to the district court for additional proceedings. The Court of Appeals reasoned that the
district court had misapplied the doctrine and had failed to
consider and make findings regarding whether the property
owners’ delay in suing the city was reasonable and whether
the city suffered any prejudice from the delay. Hebert v. City
of Fifty Lakes, No. A13-0311 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 13, 2014)
(unpublished opinion).
Whistleblower claim
Ford began working for the school district in 2006. During
the summer of 2007, she reported financial improprieties
and budget discrepancies to the school district superintendent and a staff person. Ford claimed that during the next
several months, her workload dramatically increased, and
her co-workers and supervisor mistreated her. On April
22, 2008, Ford’s supervisor told Ford that her job would
be eliminated for the next school year. On May 22, 2008,
Ford met with the director of the school district’s Office for
Diversity and Equal Opportunity to discuss the reported
financial improprieties and alleged harassment. Ford
claimed the director stated that she was a neutral party to
the dispute and would preserve Ford’s rights and guide her
through the process. On May
5, 2009, after not hearing
back from the director, Ford
The Minnesota
contacted the Minneapolis
Court of Appeals
Department of Civil Rights
and filed a discrimination
affirmed and held
Ford eventually sued the
that the statute
school district on June 29,
2010. Ford argued that the
of limitations for
two-year statute of limitations
for her whistleblower claim
a whistleblower
did not begin running until
her last day of work on June
claim begins to
30, 2008, and that the school
district should be equitably
run on the date
estopped from claiming that
Ford failed to file a timely
claim because of the director’s that an employee
representations. The disis notified that
trict court held Ford’s claim
was barred by the statute of
her job is being
limitations. The Minnesota
Court of Appeals affirmed
and held that the statute
(continued on page 26)
Postal report to come
Did you know that the League presents
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almost every month?
Watch www.lmc.org for the latest.
Some recent
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Legal Ease | From the Bench
of limitations for a whistleblower claim begins to run on
the date that an employee is notified that her job is being
eliminated and that the doctrine of equitable estoppel did
not apply because, even if the director made a misrepresentation, Ford’s reliance on it was no longer reasonable as of
May 5, 2009. Ford v. Minneapolis Public Schools, 845 N.W.2d
566 (Minn. Ct. App. 2014). Note: The Minnesota Supreme
Court has granted review of the Court of Appeals’ decision.
Mere slipperiness rule
Rosen broke his elbow when he fell on a concrete stairway
that was icy because of water melting from an overhang at
the community center, where he was bringing his daughter
to a ballet class. He sued the school district, which owns
and operates the center, for negligence. The district court
dismissed the case under the mere slipperiness doctrine,
which bars slip-and-fall claims against government entities
if the fall is solely due to “slipperiness.” This rule does not
give municipalities immunity and has several exceptions.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed and held that
additional proceedings were necessary because at least
two of the exceptions to the mere slipperiness rule might
apply. The Court of Appeals reasoned that the “for-profit”
exception might apply because of the “wide-ranging fees”
the center charged, including for the ballet class attended by
Rosen’s daughter and the rent it derives from various on-site
activities. The Court of Appeals also reasoned that the “artificial conditions” exception might apply because the overhang above the area where the fall occurred had caused ice
to accumulate on the stairs before the fall took place. Rosen
v. Edina Public Schs. Indep. Sch. Dist. # 273, No. A13-1704
(Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 28, 2014) (unpublished opinion).
HRA late fees
The city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA)
brought an eviction action against Lee after he failed to
pay late fees assessed by the HRA. Lee argued the fees were
invalid under a state statute, which generally places a limitation, or cap, on late fees for residential housing tenants
at 8 percent of the overdue rent payment. The HRA argued
that the late fees, which exceeded the 8 percent limitation,
were permissible under federal law, which allows HRAs to
impose reasonable late fees. The Minnesota Supreme Court
held that federal law does not pre-empt the state limitation
on late fees and that the HRA was subject to the limitation
because it had failed to establish that the limitation conflicts
with a “federal statute, regulation, or handbook permitting
late fees for a tenancy subsidized under a federal program.”
Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Duluth v. Lee,
(Minn. 2014). MC
Written by Susan Naughton, research attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities.
Contact: [email protected] or (651) 281-1232.
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Up for Discussion | Ask LMC
When the Winning City Council
Candidate Doesn’t Want to Serve
What happens in a city council election
when the winning candidate decides not
to take office?
LMC If the person
receiving the most votes
refuses to take office, the
seat does not automatically
go to the next-highest vote
getter. Instead, the council
should declare a vacancy in
the office and then fill the
vacancy. The council could
decide to appoint the person
who received the next-highest
number of votes in the election, but it does not have to. The
council can appoint any person that is eligible to hold the
office of councilmember to fill the vacancy. Under state law, if
the council vote is tied, the mayor is authorized to make the
appointment to fill the vacancy. Since the vacancy occurred
before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy for the next
regular city election, and more than two years remain in the
unexpired term, a special election must be held at or before
the next regular city election. The appointed person serves
until a successor elected at the special election qualifies to fill
the unexpired portion of the term. For more information, see
Chapters 5 and 6 of the LMC Handbook for Minnesota Cities at
Property Taxes
In the League’s property tax table, there are
columns showing fiscal disparities information for
some cities. What are fiscal disparities?
LMC There are two fiscal disparities programs in the state.
One operates in the seven-county metro area and one operates in the Iron Range region. The goal of these programs is
to share the benefits of economic development on a regional
basis. Through these programs, part of the tax dollars that cities
collect are in fact collected from a regional tax base. This shifts
some of the tax burden. For participating cities, the property
tax table shows the amount of tax base contributed to the
regional pool as well as the distribution to the city from the
pool (see the table at www.lmc.org/propertytax-reports). The
contribution to the pool is equal to 40 percent of the growth in
commercial, industrial, and public utility value since the base
year (1971 for the Twin Cities area; 1995 for the Iron Range).
The contribution value is not available for local tax purposes
and, therefore, the contribution value must be subtracted from
the total tax capacity of each community before the local tax
rate is computed. The tax capacity distributed from the pool
is based on a distribution index that compares each city’s total
market value per capita to the average market value per capita
for all cities and towns in the region. Cities that have relatively
less market value per capita receive a larger distribution from
the pool than cities with greater market value wealth per capita.
Distribution levies are computed for each local government by
multiplying its distribution value by its prior year tax capacity
rate. The distribution levy represents the amount of each local
government’s certified levy raised through the fiscal disparities
program. For more information, see the League document
Fiscal Disparities 101 at www.lmc.org/fd101.
Human Resources
Can we ask job candidates about
their use of sick leave with former
LMC The basic rule enforced by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding permissible
medical inquiries under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) is that you cannot ask “disability-related questions” until
after a conditional job offer has been made. This is intended
to ensure that any “hidden disability” is not considered as part
of the interviewing process until after the employer evaluates
the applicant’s qualifications and extends a conditional job
offer. The EEOC has defined “disability-related question” as “a
question that is likely to elicit information about a disability.” In
the EEOC’s Guidance on Job Applicants and the Americans with
Disabilities Act, it explicitly says that the following question
would not be permissible: How many days were you sick last
year? However, you can address an applicant’s history regarding work attendance, and a question that has many possible
answers—with only some of those answers possibly containing disability-related information—would not be considered
“disability-related.” The EEOC recognizes that employers may
need information relating to whether an applicant can meet
the employer’s attendance requirements. Thus, questions such
as “Can you meet the city’s attendance
requirements?” and “How many days
were you absent from your last job?”
Got questions
would be permissible. For more inforfor LMC?
mation, see the League’s HR Reference
Send your questions to
Manual, Chapter 2, section 5 at
[email protected]
www.lmc.org/hrrm. MC
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Up for Discussion | Let’s Talk
The Perks of Having a
Regional Safety Group
mall cities often struggle to meet training
and other requirements of the state and
federal Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA). To help with this, the
League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust
(LMCIT) offers the Regional Safety Group
(RSG) option to members of its Workers’
Compensation program. With an RSG, neighboring cities come together as partners in
OSHA compliance. LMCIT helps coordinate
Paula McGarvey
the RSGs and covers a portion of the training
costs for each one. It also partners with the
Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) to deliver
the safety training and consulting. Minnesota Cities talked with
Walnut Grove City Clerk Paula McGarvey about her experience
forming and participating in an RSG.
Minnesota Cities
When did you form a Regional Safety
Group and why did you decide to do that?
Paula McGarvey
We started the paperwork and began
getting Council approval in November 2009. A month later,
we had our initial meeting, where we found out what we could
expect from our trainer and discussed what topics we would
like to cover in trainings. I became interested in forming an
RSG when I heard about the concept at an LMCIT event. The
closest group to Walnut Grove at the time was in the Luverne
area. That was too far, so I decided to try to get one started here.
I emailed the clerks around Walnut Grove to find out which
cities might have an interest in joining.
How did LMCIT assist you with forming your RSG?
I called Chris White [LMCIT’s loss control program
coordinator] and told her I wanted to try to start a group in
our area. She provided me with step-by-step instructions for
what needed to be done. She provided the agreement for the
group, and then each clerk presented it to his or her council for
What cities are involved in your RSG?
When we first formed the RSG, it included Walnut Grove,
Milroy, Belview, Sanborn, Tracy, Lamberton, and Westbrook. The
cities of Vesta, Lucan, Storden, and Morton joined later.
MC It’s great that your RSG experienced growth. Why do
you think more cities joined?
Other cities heard about our RSG and asked to be
included because of the cost savings. An RSG is very cost-effective because LMCIT covers 50 percent of the cost of training,
and all the cities involved share the remaining cost. It is the
most economical way to provide required and necessary safety
training to city employees.
MC Each RSG creates a Safety Committee comprised of
representatives from each member city. How often does
your Safety Committee meet and how have these meetings
helped your group improve safety in each of its cities?
Each city’s clerk serves as its safety coordinator and sits
on the Safety Committee, which meets whenever there is training that involves all employees. (Some of our training is department-specific, so not all employees attend those.) As required
by LMCIT, the Safety Committee meets at least six times a year.
One of the biggest benefits we get from this is the ability to
learn from the other cities’ experiences. We learn about how
other cities have
handled problems
Having an RSG is the most
or challenges, and
we can implement
economical way to provide
guidelines or rules
required and necessary
to prevent them
from happening
safety training to city
here. For example,
one city had an
emergency medical
technician (EMT) who wore sandals to a call. When the EMT
got out of the rig, the sandal got caught on something, causing
her to fall and break an ankle. This resulted in a workers’ compensation claim. This made us all realize that we need to make
sure all our EMTs understand that they need to wear proper
attire when responding to calls. So now we all have that stated
clearly in our policies. And many of our EMTs have found a
simple solution to comply with this policy: they keep an extra
pair of shoes in their vehicle.
Another major benefit is that we have all become a source
of help for one another. We now have several people to turn to
when we need advice or ideas about things happening in our
cities. We also have our MMUA safety trainer, who will help us
find answers whenever we have questions about OSHA laws.
Let’s Talk | Up for Discussion
MC How often does your RSG have trainings and what is a
typical training day like?
one of our member cities was paying a company over $400 for
every safety training for their city. Through the RSG, each city
pays about that much for the whole year.
We have two-hour trainings with an MMUA safety
trainer once a month in Walnut Grove. After the training
session is done, the Safety Committee usually meets for about
30 minutes. After that, the trainer then goes to one of the other
cities to provide individual help to that city. We have a schedule
to allow each city to get individual time with the safety trainer,
and the city’s safety coordinator can ask the trainer for help
with any safety-related needs.
MC Please
share other ways
you believe
participating in an
RSG has benefited
the members of
the group.
Being part
of the RSG has
PM Each December, the Safety Committee has a wrap-up
resulted in our
meeting to review how the current year went and decide on the
cities communitraining topics for the next year. The MMUA safety consultant
cating more and
typically provides us with a list of possible topics for the next
sharing ideas and
year. We review the options and choose what we would like. The experiences. It’s
trainer provides all the training material needed for each topic.
not just the clerks
We always include the required OSHA trainings in the plan
that do this, either. Members of the Walnut Grove Area RSG break into
groups to discuss ideas during a recent training
for the year. Some of our other topics have included Stress and
Employees meet at session.
Customers; Back Safety; Slips, Trips, and Falls; Accident Investi- the trainings, and
gations; Fire Safety; and Disaster Response.
they communicate with each other between trainings.
If one city is trying something new, people from the other
MC In addition to the group trainings, an RSG’s member
cities are able to go there and watch or see the results, so when
cities can take turns getting individual time with the MMUA
it is needed in their city, they already have information about it.
safety consultant. You can use this time to get assistance with For example, our maintenance person has gone to other cities
to see the process and results of relining manholes and sewer
your safety manual, safety policies, an OSHA grant, or do a
lines. He has also gone to other cities to look at their tractors
safety walk-around. What are some of the ways your RSG
and discuss what they like and don’t like before we ordered a
members have used their individual time?
new one for our city.
Also, I learned from others in the RSG about the Cooperative
PM The great thing is that cities can use this time in any way
Purchase Agreement with the state of Minnethey want. Some have used it to set their file system
sota. The Council approved participating in that
up for safety training, while others have had a mock
OSHA visit. Some cities use that time to provide
For more information program, and we are now able to save money
purchasing through approved vendors.
individual training for a department. For example,
about RSGs, visit
In addition, we hear the stories of when
a couple of our cities with swimming pools have
have been hurt in other cities. This
had the trainer provide the required safety training
more safety-conscious with our
for their part-time, temporary pool employees. Others have had
the trainer help set up a system to comply with OSHA’s lockout/
employees and has helped us to prevent accidents.
tagout requirements for control of hazardous energy.
MC What do your elected officials think of the program?
MC RSGs have free access to online safety training
through FirstNet Learning. How has this training been
PM They are very supportive of this program. With the cost
beneficial to the cities in your RSG?
savings and the increased safety for employees, they agree that
it works out well for everyone.
PM Sometimes employees are not able to attend the live
training sessions. So it’s great to have the online training
MC Why would you tell other small cities to join an LMCIT
available for them. It’s an easy way for them to complete any
Regional Safety Group?
required training at their convenience. Cities can also use FirstNet Learning to supplement the live training sessions.
PM The cost savings alone is reason enough to join, but the
extra benefits of having the other cities for a resource makes
MC Is there a financial benefit to participating in an RSG? it even better. The safety training that we get through the RSG
is extremely helpful and important to our employees. Prior
PM Yes, as I mentioned before, the cost savings is one of the to joining the RSG, many of our cities only had the required
major reasons cities have joined our RSG. Since LMCIT picks
training each year. We now receive training on additional safety
up half the cost of the training, and the rest is divided among
topics that are relevant to us without having to drive for hours
the member cities, it is quite a bargain. Prior to having the RSG, to get there. MC
How do you decide on the training topics?
Ideas in Action
Medina’s Space Expansion Success
edina city officials had known for
two decades that space issues would
eventually force changes for their
Public Works and Police departments. But
a few years ago they realized overcrowding
was putting those employees in danger,
and so they began engaging the public in
an effort to find solutions.
A citizen advisory committee originally
recommended spending $15 million to
upgrade City Hall, build a new Police
Department on-site, and construct a new
public works facility near Highway 55.
While city officials studied this proposal closely, they also kept their eyes
open for the possibility of a better deal.
Eventually, in 2012, Medina purchased
a 69,487-square-foot office/warehouse
and remodeled it for the Public Works
and Police departments—and did so at
half the cost while likely accommodating
growth for the next three to four decades.
For engaging residents in planning a
cost-effective space expansion, and finding
a solution that ultimately saved taxpayers
money, the City of Medina was honored
with a 2014 City of Excellence Award
from the League of Minnesota Cities.
“The city spent a lot of time looking
into ways to provide more cost-effective
space,” says City Administrator Scott
Johnson. “You have to be open to all the
different possibilities in the city and look
into them. The city was looking into all
the different options that were available—
the timing was fortuitous.”
City officials are proud of
their new police and public
works facility. From left:
Public Safety Director Ed
Belland, citizen focus group
member Bob Franklin,
Mayor Elizabeth Weir, City
Administrator Scott Johnson,
citizen focus group member
Bob Mitchell, and Public
Works Director Steve Scherer.
Needs become obvious
A pole barn constructed nearly four
decades ago behind City Hall in Medina
served the Public Works Department
well into the turn of the century. But
as growth projected as far back as 1990
came to fruition, the needs of both police
and public works employees were not
being served. Off-season equipment was
being stored outside, “which is not a
good way to treat expensive equipment,”
says Mayor Elizabeth Weir. “The original pole barn was built in 1975. We had
simply outgrown it.”
Worker safety was also becoming an
issue, such as the time a welding spark
ignited a roof fire inside the pole barn.
“Once we recognized that, there was
really no choice,” Weir says. “We could
no longer put off addressing the need for
a new public works facility.”
The Police Department was also struggling in the basement of City Hall. That
was made clear when a suspect being
detained in its basement holding facilities
escaped through an egress door. “We
were just out of space,” says Johnson.
So, in 2007, the city sought the advice
of the citizen panel that made the $15
million recommendation. Two additional
citizen focus groups in 2011 reviewed
that study and determined Medina
officials should spend about half that
amount while focusing solely on the
needs of the Public Works Department.
However, when an office/warehouse
building became available that would
meet the needs of both departments
much further into the future, while
also providing room for administrative
growth at City Hall—for about half the
price of the original group’s recommendations—they jumped at the opportunity.
“Once you crunched the numbers, on
a per-square-foot price, even after the
rehab, it was a heck of a lot better deal,”
Johnson says. “We were just lucky the
building came online when it did.”
Results and reflections
The city closed in late 2012 on a deal to
purchase the building. It had previously
been used by Clam Corp., which sells
outdoor gear for ice fishing. At a grand
opening event in January 2014, more
than 200 people toured the newly remodeled building.
The new building brings many
benefits. For one, it promotes efficiency
because of the technological improvements it provides. For example, workers
have offices with computers and are now
works facility had flammables stored in a
work area. Those items are now housed
separately, and employees can use a ventilated welding booth with the appropriate steel walls. That should help prevent a
repeat of the fire that happened in the old
building. The Public Works Department
also has a new crane
for hoisting snow
plow blades to be
installed on trucks,
and this protects
employees from
For police, the
building contains
two secure holding
cells and much
more security than
its previous location
in City Hall. And, unlike the pole barn,
this new building has room to grow.
Throughout the process, Weir and
Johnson say, the city looked at a number of options, including renovating
and expanding its current space (which
would have addressed the situation for
only five to seven years) and purchasing
receiving their orders via email rather
than on printed papers, says Public
Works Director Steve Scherer.
The facility also has showers for both
public works and police employees.
(In the previous public works site, the
showers were used for storage.) In addition, the concrete
facility allows for
covered, heated
storage of heavy
equipment and
police cars, which
will extend the life
of the vehicles and
This 1975 pole barn,
the previous home
prevent them from
of the Public Works
being damaged
Department, is still a
by hail and other
useful storage shed
for the city.
weather effects.
“I can’t begin to
count the number of times I whacked my
head on something [in the old building]
because you had to walk through this
maze of trucks,” Scherer says. “We’re so
much more organized now. We absolutely
love this building.”
In addition to better equipment and
room to maneuver, the new building
is much safer, he adds. The old public
Public Works Director Steve Scherer says
welding is safer in the new building, with its
proper ventilation and steel walls.
land from Hennepin County’s Public
Works Department.
The Hennepin County land “was an
11-acre site with various limitations.
We couldn’t build the size building we
desired there,” Weir says.
(continued on page 36)
Instead, this purchase likely sets up
both departments for up to 40 years, while
also freeing up space at City Hall for a
renovation and to accommodate administrative growth. The process involved
considerable patience on the part of the
city, and collaboration between Medina
officials and residents, but it ended up
being worthwhile, she says.
“I do believe in teamwork and collaborative working,” Weir says. “You achieve more
by reaching out and working with people
than by trying to fight against things.”
A benefit of tough times
One unsung hero in this story, Weir
and Johnson say, was former Mayor
Tom Crosby, a real estate attorney who
thought the recession might provide an
opportunity to make a deal. He was right.
“The advantage of this courageous
move to go out and buy property in the
depths of the recession was that we got a
very good interest rate,” Weir says, adding
that the 2.125 percent rate on $7.5 million
in general obligation bonds is “going to
save taxpayers money well into the future.”
While the city did have to raise the
city’s tax rates slightly, Weir says, the
The new building includes this heated storage
area for the city’s large vehicles and squad cars.
lower cost and good interest rates made
for a better deal than had the city spent
the originally allotted $15 million.
When the building opened, the city
used the opportunity to remember
Crosby. A plaque prominently displayed
in the building honors the former mayor,
who died in 2013 after battling pancreatic
cancer. He left a legacy in this project,
city officials say.
“I think it was visionary of Crosby to
lead the city down this road,” Weir says.
“It was courageous in the middle of a
deep recession when we didn’t know
when it would resolve.” MC
Andrew Tellijohn is
a freelance writer
based in Richfield,
On the web
For more city news,
visit www.lmc.org/
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2014 Index
Anhut, Nick
Feature—Diversify Revenues
with Franchise Fees . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/19
As I See It
Authentic Leadership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/3
The Danger of Role Confusion. . SEP-OCT/3
The Importance of
Elected Office. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/3
What Symbols Are
We Creating? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/3
Why People’s View of
Government Matters . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/3
You Do Get What You Pay For. . . JAN-FEB/3
Background Checks: Does the city
need an ordinance to legally use the
police department to run criminal
history checks on job candidates and
license applicants?; Liquor License:
A local nonprofit has asked us for a
3.2 beer license. Should we require
the organization to have insurance?;
Property Taxes: How can I help
residents better understand the
property tax system, especially in
regards to their tax bills?; Council
Meetings: When does the city council
need to have a quorum, and how
many councilmembers are needed to
establish a quorum?. . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/30
Elections: What happens in a city council
election when the winning candidate
decides not to take office?; Property
Taxes: What are fiscal disparities?;
Human Resources: Can we ask job
candidates about their use of sick leave
with former employers? . . . . . . NOV-DEC/30
Labor Relations: What is the definition
of a supervisor for labor relations
purposes?; Property Taxes: What is
TNT?; Population Trends: How do I
use the U.S. Census Bureau website to
find out the population trends for our
city?; Safety: Are cities required to pay
for personal protective equipment,
such as safety shoes and safety glasses,
for city employees? . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/27
Property Taxes: What is the difference
between tax capacity and market
value?; Council Salaries: How do we
change the salaries of our mayor and
city councilmembers?; Health Care
Reform: Will we have to do anything
to qualify for the Affordable Care
Act delay until 2016 for the employer
shared responsibility mandate?;
Fire Relief Associations: If our fire
relief association joins the Statewide
Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan
to administer our pension plan, can we
still have a relief association?.JUL-AUG/26
Public Right-of-Way: Who is responsible
for maintaining trees in the city’s rightof-way?; Family and Medical Leave
Act: Can the city force an employee to
use Family and Medical Act (FMLA)
leave?; Conflict of Interest: Can the city
council contract to buy construction
materials from a councilmember’s
business?; Collaboration: Where
can I find ideas for ways our city
can collaborate with other cities and
organizations? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/30
Sales Tax Exemption: How can our city
take advantage of the new sales tax
exemption on construction materials
purchased by our contractor?;
Transportation: What do we need
to do to comply with new traffic
sign retroreflectivity requirements?;
Personnel: Can the city rehire
someone who recently retired?;
Citizen Engagement: How can we help
our residents understand more about
our city services and how we pay for
them?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/27
Bail, Bradley D.
Feature—State Building Code
Considerations for Cities. . . . . JAN-FEB/19
Barnes, Phil
Feature—Tips for Successful Government
Collaboration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/21
Behr, Jeanette
Letter of the Law—Data Retention: A
Museum of Official Records . . . MAY-JUN/22
Berg, Ginger
Two-Way Street—Does Your City Impose
Franchise Fees? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/7
Beussman, Robert
Two-Way Street—What Is
Your City’s Approach to
Youth Curfews?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/7
Bits & Briefs
A New Cyber Security Resource for
Cities; New Professional Development
for Police Chiefs; Musical Cities;
LMC Attorney Named President of
State Association; Fight Crime—Walk
a Dog; A Wheelchair Tour of City
Streets; Promoting Starry Nights;
LMC Training & Events . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/4
Donate Old Computer Equipment,
Help Others; The Right Guide for the
Light Bulb Aisle; ICMA Celebrates
100 Years; Creative Outlet: Public
Art Walls; Online Course: Create
a Respectful Workplace; If Mayors
Ruled the World?; Check Out The City
Spot; FEMA at your fingertips; LMC
Training & Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/4
NLC: Recovery Continues, Cities Wary of
What’s to Come; It’s Here: The Newly
Updated Handbook for Minnesota
Cities; Growing Solar Gardens; Chaska
Project Saves Energy and Money;
E-Book Price Gouging?; Roseville’s
Red-Hot Fire Station Consolidation;
The Most Secure Cities in America;
Database Training for MN Law
Enforcement; LMC Training & Events
On a Roll Toward Lower Fuel Costs;
To Hear, Loud and Clear; A Tastier
Downtown Red Wing; Bank Accounts
Against Crime; A Bee-Safe Resolution;
Let’s Keep It Civilized; Innovation in
Government; LMC Training & Events.
Rescued by Yetis; From Ada to
Zumbrota; Hutchinson’s MakeGood Guarantee; Ending Chronic
Veteran Homelessness; Overcoming
Obstacles for Workforce Housing;
City Partnership Saves Money and
More; Improving Economic Trends
Fuel City Optimism; LMC Training
& Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/4
Submit Your Entry Today for an LMC
Award; Hot Off the Press: The Latest
Report on Firefighter Injuries;
Energy-Saving Info Available in
Espanol; Resolved to Reduce;
Mayors Day of Recognition for
National Service; Red Wing’s PublicPrivate Solar Partnership; Small
Cities, Smart Growth; LMC Training
& Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/4
Brennan, Cheryl
Letter of the Law—Medical Records:
OSHA 300 and Beyond. . . . . . . JAN-FEB/21
Busse, Kris
Two-Way Street—How Has
Your City Promoted
Economic Development? . . . JUL-AUG/7
Carlson, Rachel
Letter of the Law—Fire Departments:
Don’t Overlook These Laws. . . . JUL-AUG/20
Carlson, Sara
Two-Way Street—How Does Your City
Promote Civility?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/7
Cook, Jessica
Feature—Diversify Revenues with
Franchise Fees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/19
Eisenschenk, Amber
Feature—Parks & Rec for All . . . MAR-APR/8
Emerson, Jo
Two-Way Street—How Does Your City
Promote Civility?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/7
2014 Annual Conference in Review: The
Future Looks Bright. . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/12
2014 Property Tax Report. . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/14
Celebrating City Champions. . . . . SEP-OCT/8
Cities Honor Veterans. . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/14
City Branding: Keep It
Emotionally True . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/8
Creating Vibrant 21st Century
Cities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/12
Credentialing of the Professional
Police Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/17
Device-Induced Overtime?
(sidebar). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/13
Diversify Revenues with
Franchise Fees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/19
Emotional Intelligence Interview
Questions (sidebar) . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/13
Engaging Future City Leaders. . . JUL-AUG/8
Ensuring Success in
Succession Planning . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/21
Interested in Honor Flight?
(sidebar). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/16
Interviewing for
Emotional Intelligence. . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/12
Legislators’ Perspectives on the
State-City Partnership. . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/8
Lessons in FLSA Wage and
Overtime Laws. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/16
LMC’s ‘Mayor for a Day’
Essay Contest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/16
Local Governance
Made Easy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/16
Mayor Coleman’s Year as
NLC President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/12
New Funding Source for City Streets
(sidebar). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/14
Parks & Rec for All . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/8
State Building Code Considerations for
Cities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/19
Strategic Planning: Building a Roadmap
to Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/8
Technology Trends:
‘BYOD’ and the City . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/12
The Freedom of
Responsibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/21
Tips for Successful Government
Collaboration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/21
Transportation Funding: We Need Some
New Ideas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/12
Water, Water Everywhere: Get the Funds
to Protect It. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/11
Frazell, Kevin
Feature—Creating Vibrant 21st Century
Cities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/12
From the Bench
Constitutional Law: Excessive force;
Constitutional Law: Legislative prayer;
Condemnation: Road access taking;
Employment Law: Procedural rules;
Contract Law: Unjust
enrichment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/22
Constitutional Law: Ten Commandments
monument; Workers’ Compensation
Law: No offset for PERA retirement
benefits; Data Practices Act: Challenge
to performance review; Land Use:
Trespass claim; Employment Law:
Whistleblower claim; Tort Law: Mere
slipperiness rule; Housing Law: HRA
late fees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/24
Employment Law: Wrongful discharge;
Land Use: 60-Day Rule; Employment
Law: Veterans Preference Act;
Employment Law: Voter registration;
Minnesota Government Data
Practices Act: Federal Copyright Act;
Constitutional Law: First
Amendment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/22
Governmental Immunity: Minnesota
No-Fault Automobile Insurance
Act; Minnesota Government Data
Practices Act: Subcontract data;
Land Use: Nonconforming use
rights; Eminent Domain: Minimum
Compensation Statute. . . . . . . . MAR-APR/24
Licensing: Rental housing; Land Use:
60-Day Rule; Employment Law: Fair
Labor Standards Act; Governmental
Immunities: Qualified privilege;
Eminent Domain: Attorney
fees; Constitutional Law: First
Amendment; Constitutional Law:
Equal protection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/22
Municipal Bonds: Election requirement;
Governmental Immunity: Official
immunity; Public Nuisance Statute:
Temporary injunction; Forfeiture Law:
Motor vehicle exemption; Workers’
Compensation Benefits: Causal
connection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/24
Giesen, Chris
Two-Way Street—How Has Your City
Promoted Economic
Development?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/7
Gould, Lena
Feature—2014 Property
Tax Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/14
Harris, Laura
Feature—Creating Vibrant 21st
Century Cities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/12
Helms, Marisa
City Champions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/8
Feature—Device-Induced Overtime?
(sidebar). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/13
Feature—Legislators’ Perspectives on the
State-City Partnership. . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/8
Feature—Strategic Planning: Building a
Roadmap to Success . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/8
Feature—Technology Trends: ‘BYOD’
and the City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/12
Ideas in Action—Collaboration: St.
Anthony Village Plays Well with
Others. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/34
Ideas in Action—Madelia Brings
Land Back to Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/34
Hickok, Scott
Two-Way Street—How Does
Your City Approach Code
Enforcement?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/7
Hoffacker, Claudia
Feature—Credentialing of the
Professional Police Chief. . . . NOV-DEC/17
Ideas in Action—Safety Initiative: Jordan
Police Go Back to School . . . MAY-JUN/34
Ideas in Action
Clara City Gets Energy Boost from
Natural Gas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/34
Collaboration: St. Anthony Village Plays
Well with Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/34
Madelia Brings Land Back
to Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/34
Medina’s Space Expansion
Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/34
Princeton Creates a Buzz
Downtown. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/34
Safety Initiative: Jordan Police
Go Back to School. . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/34
2014 Property Taxes:
Comparative Data . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/INSERT
Session 2014: Representing Minnesota
Cities at the Capitol . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/INSERT
Johnson, Bret
Feature—The Freedom of
Responsibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/21
Kageyama, Peter
Feature—City Branding:
Keep It Emotionally True . . . . . MAY-JUN/8
Kao, Irene
Letter of the Law—Labor
Arbitration 101 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/22
Letter of the Law—The Mayor’s Power at
Council Meetings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/23
Kauffman, Andrew
Feature—Local Governance
Made Easy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/16
Kushner, Laura
Feature—Interviewing for Emotional
Intelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/12
Feature—Lessons in FLSA Wage and
Overtime Laws. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/16
Letter of the Law—Ignorance is
Not Bliss: New HR Laws
You Need to Know. . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/21
Larson, Brad
Two-Way Street—How Does Your City
Approach Code Enforcement?. . . JAN-FEB/7
Lepak, Scott
Feature—Lessons in FLSA Wage and
Overtime Laws. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/16
Let’s Talk
A Primer on the State Environmental
Review Process (Kate Frantz). . . SEP-OCT/30
Building Connections the ‘Nice Bike’ Way
(Mark Scharenbroich). . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/32
Changing Perspectives: From City Hall
to State Capitol (Reps. Jeff Howe and
Shannon Savick). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/30
Safety First: Review Helps City Reduce
Risk (Adam Nafstad) . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/32
The Ins and Outs of the OSA (Rebecca
Otto). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/30
The Perks of Having a Regional Safety
Group (Paula McGarvey). . . NOV-DEC/32
Letter of the Law
Data Retention: A Museum of Official
Records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/22
Fire Departments: Don’t Overlook These
Laws. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/20
Ignorance is Not Bliss: New HR Laws You
Need to Know. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/21
Labor Arbitration 101 . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/22
Medical Records: OSHA 300 and
Beyond. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/21
The Mayor’s Power at Council
Meetings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/23
Miller, Jim
As I See It—Authentic
Leadership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/3
As I See It—The Danger of Role
Confusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/3
As I See It—The Importance of Elected
Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/3
As I See It—What Symbols Are We
Creating?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/3
As I See It—Why People’s View of
Government Matters . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/3
As I See It—You Do Get What You Pay
For. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/3
Nash, Jim
Two-Way Street—How Does Your
City Foster a Senior-Friendly
Environment? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/7
Norman-Major, Kris
Feature—Ensuring Success in Succession
Planning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/21
Olson, Timothy J.
Feature—Water, Water Everywhere: Get
the Funds to Protect It . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/11
Paulseth, Ellen
Two-Way Street—Does Your City Impose
Franchise Fees? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/7
Pohlman, Roger
Two-Way Street—What Is Your City’s
Approach to Youth Curfews?. . NOV-DEC/7
Swanum, Aaron
Ideas in Action—Clara City Gets Energy
Boost from Natural Gas . . . . . . JAN-FEB/34
Tellijohn, Andrew
Feature—Cities Honor
Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/14
Feature—Engaging Future
City Leaders. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/8
Feature—Mayor Coleman’s Year as NLC
President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/12
Ideas in Action—Medina’s Space
Expansion Success. . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/34
Ideas in Action—Princeton Creates a
Buzz Downtown. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/34
Thompson, Michael
Feature—The Freedom of
Responsibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/21
Two-Way Street
Does Your City Impose
Franchise Fees? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAY-JUN/7
How Does Your City Approach Code
Enforcement?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/7
How Does Your City Foster a SeniorFriendly Environment? . . . . . . . MAR-APR/7
How Does Your City Promote
Civility?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SEP-OCT/7
How Has Your City Promoted Economic
Development?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JUL-AUG/7
What Is Your City’s Approach to Youth
Curfews?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOV-DEC/7
Wittnebel, Aaron
Two-Way Street—How Does Your
City Foster a Senior-Friendly
Environment? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MAR-APR/7
Zelle, Charlie
Feature—Transportation Funding: We
Need Some New Ideas . . . . . . . . JAN-FEB/12
Business Alliance
Program Members
Our Sponsors help support our mission to serve Minnesota cities.
Learn how your organization can reach city decision makers at
Members of the Business Leadership Council are the League’s
premier partners, providing the highest level of financial and expert
resources to support the organization’s mission.
Abdo, Eick & Meyers LLP
Briggs and Morgan, P.A.
Galliard Capital Management, Inc.
Hiway Federal Credit Union
KLJ Engineering
LeVander, Gillen & Miller, P.A.
AE2S (Advanced Engineering and
Environmental Services, Inc.)
Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.
CenterPoint Energy
David Drown Associates, Inc.
Financial Concepts, Inc.
Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.
Moore Engineering, Inc.
Nationwide Retirement Solutions
Springsted Incorporated
TrueNorth Steel
Xcel Energy
Hakanson Anderson
ISG (I+S Group)
ITC Midwest LLC
MacQueen Equipment
MSA Professional Services
National Joint Powers Alliance
OPUS 21 Management Solutions
Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A.
Red Wing Software
Schlenner Wenner & Co.
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
Acceptance of an organization in the sponsorship program does not constitute an endorsement by the League of
Minnesota Cities, nor does it represent an opinion about the quality of an organization’s products or services.
thank you
Members of the League of Minnesota Cities Business Alliance help
provide valuable financial support to the League, ensuring our ability to
provide important research and information services and educational
and training opportunities.
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