Back to the Mar-Apr 2021 issue

Bits & Briefs

Celebrate National Library Week

A girl wearing a mask reading a book

From story strolls to curbside checkout, libraries have stepped up big during the pandemic. National Library Week, April 4-10, 2021, is a great time to celebrate your local library — whether it be a city, county, or regional system branch — with a social media shoutout, a note of recognition at your next council meeting, or perhaps a bit of written prose in the local paper.

Ready for your next municipal read? Put in a materials request for The Mayor Married Who? by Tim Casey, a retired city manager and ICMA senior advisor from California. Learn more at

A boardwalk in a landscapeOur Minnesota Climate

Infrastructure stress, threats to livestock, waterborne disease — these are just a few of the ways that climate change is affecting Minnesotans and the state’s ecosystems. A new state interagency website and campaign, “Our Minnesota Climate,” is designed to engage the public in conversations about how climate change is affecting our daily lives and the many ways that Minnesotans are taking on the challenge of becoming more green and resilient. The site is part of the efforts of the new interagency Climate Change Subcabinet and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. Together they are charged with reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions while pursuing policy and strategy to make the state less vulnerable to climate-related consequences. Learn more at

Send in Nominations Now for LMC Awards

Mark your calendars: April 19 is the 2021 deadline for submission of your City of Excellence, CC. Ludwig, James F. Miller Leadership, and Sustainable City award nominations. The League of Minnesota Cities awards program is dedicated to recognizing service delivery and local government leadership that stands out from the crowd and can provide inspiration to others in the field. For the City of Excellence Awards, cities can submit projects in one of three different population categories or in this year’s topical category, “COVID-19 Response.” Entries that don’t win but still wow the judges are eligible to be highlighted throughout the year in League publications and trainings. For nomination forms and more information, visit

City Academy, Zoom-Style

Jason Gadd
Jason Gadd

Hopkins Mayor Jason Gadd moved to the front of the class last fall when he led a two-session Zoom class through the Hopkins community education program. Gadd was initially approached to present on how to get involved in local politics, but the concept quickly broadened into a primer on how city government works and how residents can participate even without an election certificate.

The first session was dedicated to city operations, boards, and commissions. Gadd also reviewed how the community can get involved in planning and development projects, and spent time asking and answering questions about community engagement.

For the second session, attendees were asked to bring their “I wonder why the city …” questions, and their answer to the following prompt: If you could do something for the city and know that it would not fail, what would it be? LMC Deputy Director Luke Fischer also joined the class to share statewide perspectives on city operations beyond Hopkins, and to preview some of the resources available to cities and elected officials.

Interested in starting a class like this in your city? “My biggest tip is to just be yourself,” says Gadd. “Ask questions, get to know who is in the class, and let them know that you are just a neighbor like them — you just happen to be elected into the local government.”

the City SpeakNew Season Starts Soon

LMC’s podcast, The City Speak, is kicking off its fourth season of “short takes on city issues” this spring! New host, Deputy Director Luke Fischer, will be sitting down (virtually) with a strong lineup of city officials to share stories and dig into topics related to local government leadership. To learn more and access episodes, visit And if you’re missing the League’s annual Legislative Conference (aren’t we all?), be sure to cue up the special bonus series on League legislative priorities, released in January.


Housing Issues for Minnesota Cities

Minnesota cities are focused on real affordable housing solutions, particularly in light of the pandemic. Yet, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that effectively addresses residential development needs across the state. To provide a solid foundation for discussion of this topic and help local leaders develop solutions that are consistent with their own community’s needs, the League of Minnesota Cities has released a new information memo to get everyone — from experienced council members to the newest staff hire — on the same page.

Included in the new memo:

  • Discussion of concepts and terminology, from what is meant by “affordable housing” to lingo such as “NOAH.”
  • Review of strategies and possible partnerships to help address your housing needs.
  • An introduction to state and federal programs that may be available to your city.

Read the memo at