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

Oct 17

October 7th, 2016

Posted to City Manager Blog by Chad Bergo

1. Calendar Items and Updates:

East Metro Fire Safety Training Open House- Sunday, October 9th, 11 am to 3 pm. Ribbon Cutting at 11:15. 

Upcoming Workshop Meeting – The next Council Manager Workshop will be held on Monday, October 10th at 5 pm. There will be two agenda items: Regions Medical Direction Overview, and Closed Session on Union Contract Negotiations
City of Maplewood Community Business Engagement Breakfast on October 12, 2016 at the Maplewood Community Center from 7:30 a.m. – 9:00a.m.  Pre-registration is required. Please let Lois or I know if you are attending.
The City of Maplewood’s Housing and Economic Development Commission and the Maplewood’s City Council is pleased to announce our second annual Community Business Engagement Breakfast on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 7:30a.m. – 9:00a.m. at the Maplewood Community Center. Join us for breakfast and a discussion regarding demographic trends and changes that will be affecting the future of the area’s business community and the City. Speakers will include local experts in the demographic field that will share information regarding trends in population shifts, workforce development, and an increase in demand for high-skilled and service industry jobs. Mayor Nora Slawik will unveil Maplewood’s Business Engagement Program which will focus on identifying businesses in the City that are likely to experience growth and target these for follow-up visits and City Manager Melinda Coleman will discuss the Maplewood Achievement Awards Program with the winners being announced at the State of the City Address on January 12, 2017.  
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. Stay tuned for additional meeting and registration details.

2. Staff and Council Information:

Report on YMCA contract- I am pleased to tell you that the contract is almost complete. We still have a couple of minor items to confirm with Attorneys on both sides and we will be done. This was a very complex and lengthy process but we are ready to bring this to you for approval on the 10th. 

Report on Annual Rec Run-
Citizen Services – Current Absentee Ballot Numbers

With a little over five weeks to go until the November 8th election we are starting to see more folks come in to city hall to vote.  We have been receiving positive comments regarding our setup in the council chambers and the availability of being able to vote without the requirement of having a reason to do so.
Our current transmitted ballots and/or ballot applications as of Thursday, October 6th was 1,688.  During the 2012 Presidential election 1,916 absentee ballots were processed.  Sure looks like we are on our way to doubling that number!  

·         Total received online: 643
·         Total received via email: 18
·         Total received via fax: 16
·         Total received via mail: 571
·         Total received in person: 440

Following is an article this week from the Pioneer Press discussing the increase in absentee voting.  
Minnesota ballots pouring in, smashing previous levels By RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER | PUBLISHED: October 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm  
More than 100,000 Minnesotans have been sent absentee ballots and more than 14,000 voters have already had their ballots accepted, according to figures from the secretary of state. Adding in mail-only ballots, an option in some small townships and cities in rural areas, more than 150,000 Minnesotans could already have ballots in their hands for the November election. The ballot figures were current as of Sept. 29.
At this point in 2014, which was not a presidential election year and therefore had fewer voters, only about 60,000 ballots had been sent out and fewer than 4,000 had been accepted. 
At this point in 2012, which was a presidential election year, only about 46,000 absentee ballots had been mailed out and 2,308 accepted. The 2012 figures do not include mail-only precincts. The number of ballots sent and returned do not necessarily mean Minnesota will see record turnout numbers in the upcoming election. Voters who have already made up their minds may just see casting ballots on their own timeline more convenient.
In recent years, state law has allowed any Minnesota to cast absentee ballots, either in person at local county (and some city offices) or by mail, whether or not they will be unable to go to the polls on Election Day. Both parties and campaigns have promoted early absentee voting to their supporters as a way to get votes in the bank before the Nov. 8 Election Day.


3. News and Communications in the press or media:

Tuj Lub Courts open in City Paul-  We were supposed to be the first, but our construction schedule was pushed back. Our court will be ready next summer. 

Open Burning in Cities- from LMC
Understand laws that lessen fire risks to property and natural resources. Covers materials prohibited in open burning, required permits and fees, burning of leaves, burning bans, environmental concerns, and how a city official can act as a fire warden. Has links to sample ordinances authorizing open burning and burning of leaves. Includes a sample application for a recreational fire and an open burning permit.

View the memo:

Thank you Mayor and Council for taking time to meet with Ellie and I this week to discuss Budget challenges. We appreciate your willingness to dig in and help us plan for a sustainable financial future. Have a great weekend. Melinda

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