Blog module icon

All Blog

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

Nov 22

November 18th, 2016

Posted to City Manager Blog by Chad Bergo

Here is this week’s news and communications. 11.18.16

1. Calendar Items and Updates:

Upcoming Workshop & Council Meeting –  The next Council Manager Workshop and regular Council Meeting will be Monday, November 28th.    The start time of the Workshop will be 6 pm and we will hear reports on Gladstone Redevelopment, Housing and Kid City. 
At the Council meeting on the 28th we will get an Update on Rush Line Corridor Transitway Pre-Project Development Study Tier 2 Analysis and Public Outreach Efforts

Mark Your Calendars!
This year, the metro regional meeting that is jointly hosted by Metro Cities and the League of MN Cities will take place on Wednesday, November 30th, at the Embassy Suites in Brooklyn Center. At this meeting, Metro Cities’ members will also adopt the organization’s legislative policies. Please let Lois know if you are interested in attending and we’ll get you registered.  
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Registration Open
1 p.m.
Welcome and Remarks from LMC Executive Director Dave Unmacht and Metro Cities Executive Director Patricia Nauman
1:30 p.m.
Tough Issues, Difficult People: Tools for Changing the Conversation
The number of really hard issues our cities face only seems to increase—and all of us have worked with colleagues, co-workers, and community members who can be…well…a challenge! Whether in a group or one on one, how do you keep conversations civilized and interact effectively with people who are angry, frustrated, confused, and sometimes unreasonable? LMC staff will lead an interactive discussion on personal strategies for diffusing anger and having more constructive interactions. We’ll also talk about how to convene and engage residents and other stakeholders in six conversations to empower them to be part of building stronger, vibrant, and more inclusive communities.
2:30 p.m.
Elections Update with Secretary of State Steve Simon 
Minnesota is known for its civic culture, well-run elections, and some of the highest rates of voter participation in the country. Hear from Minnesota’s Secretary of State Steve Simon about the work he is doing to help return Minnesota to number one in voter turnout this November and why engaging local election administrators, elected officials, candidates and voters is critical to success. Plus, learn about recent election law changes of interest to cities and what election-related issues will be up for discussion during the 2017 session.
3:15 p.m.
3:30 p.m.
Political Forecast: The Impact of 2016 Election Outcomes on City Priorities 
The 2016 election results are in! Hear from political journalist Peter Callaghan from MinnPost about the recent elections and how they will influence Minnesota’s political landscape and the issues that matter most to cities.
4:30 p.m.
Remarks from Metro Cities President Anne Mavity and LMC President Rhonda Pownell 
4:45 p.m.
Metro Cities Policy Adoption Meeting
5:30 p.m.
Social Hour
Network with colleagues while enjoying a cash bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres.
6:30 p.m.

Rush Line Corridor Open Houses-Note Maplewood Mall Meeting on Dec. 15th 5-7 pm.


Event Name: Oh What Fun 2016 Gala-Staff is arranging for a city table. Please let Lois know if you would like to attend. thanks
Event Type(s): Member Event
Chamber Event
Description: White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce

"Oh What Fun"
2016 Gala
Join us as we enjoy the Chamber’s “Social Event of the Year”
Social Hour
Scrumptious Dinner
Magnificent Silent Auction
Live Auction
Rockin' Live Entertainment 
and the ever popular and famous
Colossal Dessert Buffet

5:30 Social Hour & Silent Auction
6:30 Dinner
8:00 Live Auction
8:30 Live Entertainment with The Riverside Hitmen
Event Date: 12-02-16
Event Time: 05:30 PM - 10:00 PM Central
Location: Keller Golf Course
2166 Maplewood Dr
Maplewood, MN 55109

2. Staff and Council Information:

Chief Schnell: Chief Schnell passed this video on to me and it is a pretty thorough review of the whole Police Accountability Discussion going on in our State and Nationally. It is done by John Oliver who has a weekly program on the Comedy Channel. This is worth the time to watch.
Another recent article on Body Cameras:
OSHA Inspection, by Mike Funk
On Tuesday this past week a Senior Safety Inspector from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) showed up for an unannounced inspection of the city.  They spend the entire day Tuesday and Wednesday morning inspecting numerous buildings, which included City Hall, Fire Department, Public Works building (Maintenance and Mechanics), and the Parks building.  Their inspection also included a thorough review of city procedures and protocols, MSDS sheets, documentation, reporting, and tracking.  

I am pleased to report that the inspection went extremely well.  In the post inspection briefing, the inspector was very complimentary of our staff and the level of detail that staff has giving to ensuring safe working conditions.  In fact, the inspector went so far to say that this has been one of the best cities she has ever inspected in her 30-plus year career.  She went on to say that it was obvious to her that our Training programing is very good and that employees seem to really know what they are doing.  

This type of acknowledgment is a sign of the quality and dedication of our staff to do things the right way.  We have a safety first culture that has permeated to all departments.  Many thanks to the Safety Committee and Chairperson David Swan, Bryan Nagel (who leads our building maintenance personnel, Steve Lukin and Mike Mondor (for their record keeping and training protocols), and our safety consulting company SafeAssure.  The city is in our 2nd year of the contact with SafeAssure and they have provided mock safety inspections in helping us prepare for the day OSHA showed up.  Without their help, our inspection this week would have turned out much different.

That all being said, the city received 3 violations.  Please keep in mind that OSHA always finds violations.  One violation was due to a small section of a protective guard missing on a band saw.  The other two violations involved lock-out/tag-out procedures.  David Swan and the Safety Committee are working on updating the city’s safety manual- which included these procedures and forms.  Although we’re close to having it completed, we still received the fine because it’s incomplete.  Bad timing.  

The estimated fine is $4,500, but I expect it to be reduced to $2,215.  The city will receive the Official Report in 2-3 weeks and will be reviewed by the Safety Committee.  

If you have any questions, please let me know.  P.s.  The last time the City received an inspection from OSHA was close to 20 years ago.  


3. News and Communications in the press or media:

Attached is a press release announcing that the Maplewood Historical Society received a grant in the amount of $56,614 from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to develop an install an exhibit on the history of 3M in Maplewood. Congratulations to staff and Bob Jensen for their work in obtaining this fabulous grant. Here is a story to share for sure. 

Metro Cities News
November 15, 2016

Minnesota Housing Postpones Immediate Changes to 4% Housing Tax Credit Program 

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency announced it is postponing the timeline for proposed changes to the 2017 Qualified Allocation Plan which would have impacted distribution of 2017 tax credits. The agency announced it is still proposing changes for the 2018 QAP. The new deadline for comments is Wednesday, November 30th.

Minnesota Housing explained it had heard from stakeholders expressing concern that the quick implementation of changes would negatively affect developments already underway and that there was insufficient time to make necessary adjustments. …click for full article
Elections Result in Republican Majorities in State Legislature

With the results of Tuesday’s election, the State Senate and House will see Republican majorities and a total of 44 new legislators. The House will hold 76 seats in the House of Representatives, up from 72. In the Senate, the Republicans hold a narrow majority with a seat tally of 34-33, assuming final results remain the same after two recounts that will be held for seats in Senate Districts 14 and 44. Some new faces will also represent the metropolitan region in the Legislature. The electoral breakdown for legislative representation in the seven-county …click for full article

Grant Evaluation and Ranking System (GEARS) Committee Solicitation

The Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) and Grant Evaluation and Ranking System (GEARS) committee were established in 2008 in conjunction with the passage of the metro sales tax, to distribute funds for capital and operating grants for transit projects in the region.

Five counties - Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Washington and Dakota - enacted the new sales tax, making cities within those counties eligible for one of eight city seats on the fourteen member GEARS committee (a Met Council member and five county representatives …click for full article 

GEARS Approves Grant Recommendations to CTIB

On Monday, November 7th, the Grant Evaluations and Ranking System (GEARS) committee met and approved a slate of grant funding recommendations to the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB). The total amount recommended is $245.8 million. This amount includes $137.9 million to Southwest LRT, $66 million for Blue Line Extension (Bottineau Line), and $8 million for Orange Line BRT. …click for full article

That’s all for this week. I wish you all a great fall weekend free of snow! Melinda

Melinda Coleman | 651-249-2055

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