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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

May 22

May 19, 2017

Posted to City Manager Blog by Chad Bergo

Another great week at the City of Maplewood! 

Meetings and Announcements:    

Our next City Council meeting will be held on May 22nd at 7 pm. Workshop will begin at 5:00 at the Gladstone Fire Station. This will be a joint meeting with the Planning Commission and members of the Steering Committee. Food will be provided. After the workshop we will head back to city hall for regular City Council meeting at 7 pm.

Tuj Lub Grand Opening Ceremony on June 10th, 9 am at Keller Park.

White Bear Avenue Parade:  The Parade will be on July 12th. Please let me know if you would like to participate. Staff will submit the application for Parade Permit if you would like to participate. So far, I have heard from Mayor Slawik that she will be participating in the parade. Thanks


Safer Schools Task Force 
May 25, 2017
6 - 7:00 p.m. - BOARD MEETING*
7 - 8:30 presentation by John Choi
City of Arden Hills
1245 West Hwy. 96 in Council Chambers. BOARD MEETING prior to presentation will be in conference room on second floor

Public Safety Priorities
September 21, 2017        
6 - 7:00 - BOARD MEETING*
7 - 8:30 p.m. presentation 

5th Annual "State of the Waters"
October Date & location TBD

Annual Meeting and Program
November 30, 2017
6 - 7:00 p.m. - BOARD MEETING* 
7 - 8:30 - (Topic to be determined)
At Rudy's Redeye Grill
4940 Highway 61

Updates from Staff and Council

According to Ginny Gaynor the MN Department of Ag called with the sad news that EAB is now confirmed in Maplewood – a tree at Carver Elementary School.  This site will be added to the MDA’s on-line EAB map tomorrow (
Attached is some information for staff in case calls start coming in and explaining some next steps. Ginny is on vacation Friday, but we will prepare a proper press release/announcement next week.  The MDA recommends NO removal or pruning of ash now through the end of September.   Thus, no need to rush  – this is the time for monitoring and educating. 
The MDA can do a training session for our Parks and PW staff and Ginny will work with Bryan and Scott to schedule that.   Our contracted forester can do educational sessions for residents, ENR, and council this summer and fall.   Ginny has spoken to the school district and to our city forester and will be following up with them next week.  The school may want to inject (treatment to try and save the tree) If they do not, we’ll condemn the tree later this year and require removal after October.  This is something that we will need to address through our CIP Process. Dewey has identified funds needed to address the spread of EAB. This will now need to be more closely evaluated and prioritized with our many other worthy projects.  

New Staff-The Parks & Recreation Department is excited to announce that they have hired Gina Kuchenmeister to be the new Administrative Assistant. Gina comes to us with over 15 years of administrative experience and was previously the Site Director/Administrator at one of the Carol Matheys Child Care Centers and is also an ISD 622 Education Foundation Board Member. Her official start date is Wednesday, May 31 and we look forward to having her join our team!

Here is a picture of the Aldi opening on Thursday morning.  According to Council members Abrams and Juenemann it is a great looking store.  They really switched their floor plan around from their other stores with  wider aisles, higher ceilings and a “cut-through” aisle to allow customers to easily pass through the store more efficiently than previous floor plans. 

Part-Time Planner Position
As part of the 2017 budget, EEDD was allocated the addition of a part-time planner.  Earlier this year staff advertised for this position receiving more than 30 applications. After two rounds of interviews, staff offered the position to its preferred candidate who accepted this week.  Jane Adade will officially be starting her employment with the city of Maplewood on June 5, but will be present at the 2040 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee meeting on May 22. This spring, Jane completed her graduate work in Local Government Management at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  Jane previously earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.  Jane also recently completed internships with the city of Saint Louis Park and the League of Minnesota Cities.  Jane will be working three days a week with Maplewood.  Staff is excited to have Jane on board and believes she has a skillset that compliments and expands upon the expertise we have in EEDD.  

On May 16th, the Fire Department hosted its second annual Bike Rodeo and Safety Fair in partnership with Regions/Gillette Hospital, Weaver Elementary School, and the Maplewood Police Reserves.  The event included several opportunities for families to learn about staying safe in and around the home.  

Bike Rodeo Fun Facts:
  • 130 attendees
  • 34-Bike Helmets distributed to children who either didn’t have helmets or had helmets that didn’t fit correctly.  All helmets were paid for through a Safe Kids Coalition Grant
  • 75-Children who completed their “Passport” which meant they completed all of the child focused stations
This event demonstrated the powerful effect that public, private and community partnerships can have on improving community health and wellness.

Council Members Abrams and Xiong participated in the Weaver Leadership Day event as well as Chief Lukin, Detective Fritze and myself. It was a wonderful event and so inspirational to see how this school has incorporated Steven Covey’s 7 Habits into their curriculum. The students had poster boards of each of the habits and we had classroom tours of how they are incorporated into their school work. 

Update on the Director of Public Safety (Hiring)
The city received 21 total applicants- consisting of internal, metro, outstate, and out-of-state.  Of the 21 applicants, 13 completed all three components of the Phase One process.  Phase One consisted of:  application review, scored supplemental questions, and the Personnel Evaluation Profile (PEP).  As a result of their final score there are 7 individuals that will move on to Phase Two of the process- which is first round interviews.   

Human Resources has set the interview date for Wednesday, May 31st.  There are three structured panel interviews consisting of 1) Department Heads; 2) Police Department Employees; and 3) Community Members.  For the Community Member Panel we have 3 of the 5 panelist spots confirmed.  They include a member of the Use of Force Task Force, Police Chief from another agency, and a member of the Police Civil Service Commission.  The remaining three panelists are expected to be confirmed early next week; which will include a student from Hill Murray, and a local business owner.

After the interviews, the Police Civil Service Commission is expected to meet the first week of June to review the scores from Phase One and Phase Two.  They will Certify the eligibility list with the identification of the three finalists and authorize background checks to be performed.  The final phase will include interviews with the City Council on June 12th and a community open house and Q and A event, likely on the 13th.  Please call me or Mike if you have any questions. 

YMCA overview presentation The staff at the MCC/YMCA are preparing a user survey of its members. They are looking for ideas as to how to better engage with the Maplewood community and consider new programs. I am attaching this video for those of you that may not be familiar with the YMCA mission and programs. It is just a couple of minutes long. If you are a member keep an eye out for the survey. 

Tartan Ice Arena- Council member Smith informed me that the Ice Arena JPA is being dissolved. The legal documents associated with the Tartan Arena Dissolution will be reviewed on the June12th Council agenda.  The proposed action to dissolve the JPA will remove all previous financial obligations as the bond will be paid off by the end of the year. There will be some legal fees relating to the end of our Agreement. This is a very positive move for Maplewood as this gets turned over to District 622 to have total responsibility for the ownership and management of the facility.

News From local sources and agencies :   Reference:   Maplewood PD  (Missing persons – tweet)   Reference:  Maplewood PD  Reference:  Chief Schnell – Squad Overbilling Update  Reference:  Chief Schnell - Commemorative ribbons for fallen officers


Mar 01

The New Guy - Bryan Smith

Posted to Council Account by Chad Bergo

When I got the assignment to write an article for this month’s Maplewood Living, I really didn’t want to write “the new guy” article. The reality is, however, that I have now been sworn in for about six weeks, I have attended 3 council meetings, and have been working hard to learn the ins and outs of Maplewood operations and how to be the best councilmember I can. It feels strange to be writing this so early; I am the new guy after all…

We have all been the new person: new kid at school, new person at work, or the new family on the block. It can be a tough time of uncertainty and anxiety, but it is also a time of opportunity for new friends, new skills, and new knowledge. I have felt all of these feelings since being sworn in. In fact, I am not only the new guy here, but also am the new guy on the Gateway Corridor Commission and a number of other groups for which I now represent the city.

As I have begun this journey, there are a number of life lessons I reflect on and hold in my heart:
1. Be grateful: I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve our city, and also for my colleagues on the council, the mayor, and many leaders from the city staff who have all been generous and patient while teaching me and answering all my rookie questions.

2. More elephants and fewer hippos: Picture it: elephants have huge ears and small mouths while hippos have huge mouths and small ears. I know I can tend to be more of a hippo, more apt to speak than I am to listen carefully. I am doing my best to be more of an elephant, and it takes a great deal of energy for me to slow down, shut my mouth, and listen. I am doing my best, and when I am successful, I find it serves me quite well.

3. Be kind: I have never regretted being kind to someone – I have, however, regretted being unkind almost every time. My wife and I have always expected our son to show kindness to others, and at 7 years old, he is now my role model. I hope I can grow up to be as kind and empathetic as him.

While I really didn’t want to write the new guy article, I think that I just did. One thing I have learned in my career is that people typically feel “new” a lot longer than they are seen as “new” by others. Hopefully you still see me as “new” – I know I still feel it. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead, to getting to know you all better, and to working to make our city the best it can be.

Tag(s): Bryan Smith