New employees

Lori Melichar joined the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust as a workers’ compensation claims coordinator on March 22. Melichar previously worked at Travelers Insurance Company in various roles, including as an administrative assistant to the claims manager, operations specialist, and EDI coordinator.


The League has hired Caitlyn Walker for this year’s Public Administration Internship, and she began working in the LMC Administration Department on April 5. Walker is working on her master’s degree in public policy at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She received her bachelor’s degree in public administration, political science, and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. As part of her studies last fall, Walker researched the topic of Minnesota teens not having access to unemployment insurance during the pandemic. She analyzed policy solutions to make a recommendation to the state Legislature. Walker’s experience includes working in child care for the YMCA and two summers as a youth ministry intern, where she coordinated service projects for local nonprofit organizations.


Nicholas Hill joined the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust on March 1 as a paralegal. He earned degrees in legal studies and Spanish, as well as his paralegal certificate, from Hamline University. Hill gained experience in graphic design, social media marketing, and event planning while working in the Hamline University Theatre Box Office. He began his paralegal work as an intern with the Sapientia Law Group and continued working with the law firm after college on special projects.


The League of Minnesota Cities has been named one of 30 finalists for the 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Organizations must be nominated by a National Guard or Reserve employee in their organization. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) operates the program on behalf of the secretary of Defense to recognize employers that have demonstrated support to Guard and Reserve employees through their leadership and practices, including adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve.

This year, ESGR received 3,382 nominations for the Employer Support Freedom Award. Other Minnesota employers recognized in the list of finalists include CCI/Speer, Marcus Construction, Medtronic, and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. ESGR is expected to announce 15 winners of the Freedom Award in mid-June. The League received the Pro Patria Award in 2019, which is the highest award available for recognition at the state level.


Irene Kao, intergovernmental relations counsel with the League, has been named one of the 2020 Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer. “Our selections encompass the wide variety of practices and issues that make Minnesota’s legal profession vibrant,” Minnesota Lawyer said in its announcement of the winners.

Kao was recognized in particular for her work on diversity, race equity, and forging a new path on these issues. As League IGR counsel, Kao worked with member cities on their diversity issues, particularly in response to George Floyd’s death at the end of May. She also was a leader in coordinating statewide city participation in drafting the League’s legislative policy regarding racial equity. Kao was also the 2020 president of the Infinity Project, which works to identify, recruit, and assist women in their efforts to become judges in the 8th Circuit. “The federal judiciary has not been diverse,” Kao said. “The Infinity Project is nonpartisan. There is such value in having diversity on the judiciary and being reflective of the communities you serve.”

Kao and other honorees will be recognized in a Feb. 17 online event. This annual event honors Attorneys of the Year for their work in procuring a successful result in an important case or business transaction, leadership in professional associations, participating in newsworthy events in the legal community, performing significant public services, or excellence in providing in-house legal services.