Back to the Mar-Apr 2023 issue

Bits & Briefs

Bloomington Vying to Be Host City of World Expo

Minnesotans know what our state has to offer, and now the City of Bloomington is vying for the chance to showcase our state to the world by hosting the World’s Fair, also known as World Expo, in 2027!

Bloomington was named one of five host city finalists by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) after submitting its proposed theme of “Healthy People, Healthy Planet — Wellness and Well Being for All.” The theme spotlights Minnesota’s renowned contributions to the nation’s medical field — Mayo Clinic, Medical Alley, and a sustained commitment to healthy lifestyles.

Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse says hosting the expo would be truly transformational for Bloomington and the entire state of Minnesota. “The economic impact and development potential are obvious, but the long-term legacy is the more important motivator,” says Busse via email. “We’ll enjoy a once-in-lifetime opportunity to showcase Minnesota’s health and wellness ecosystem. And we’ll show the world that Minnesotans come together and step up to any challenge.”

If selected, Bloomington would become the first American city to host the expo since New Orleans did so in 1984. BIE will decide on one of its five finalists — Argentina, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, and the U.S. — in June.

“Bloomington is the perfect location for a World Expo because the proposed site is uniquely expo-ready,” says Busse. “With easy accessibility to the airport, access to transit, a central location in the Twin Cities (right next door to Mall of America), and a strong track record of hosting big events, I can’t think of a better site than Bloomington.”

2023 League Awards

Earn Swag and the Right to Swagger

Admiration from your peers, an attractive desk plaque, a check for $1,000, and a video that showcases your outstanding accomplishment to share far and wide! Your city can win all of that and more, simply by submitting a description of your good work from the past year.

Nominate your city for the League’s 2023 City of Excellence Awards through April 17. Winners will be first announced publicly at the League’s Annual Conference in Duluth, June 21-23. A City of Excellence Award is a gift that keeps on giving. Winners will be recognized throughout the year via a League-produced video to be first shown at the conference and shared on social media, a feature article in this magazine, and potential promotion through your city’s local media.

Outstanding individuals will also receive plaudits through the League’s C.C. Ludwig Award, James F. Miller Leadership Award, and Emerging Leaders Award recognition. The three awards recognize outstanding work among elected and appointed officials and are the most prestigious awards for city leaders presented by the League. Winners of individual awards are first recognized publicly at the League’s Annual Conference, as well.

Nomination materials for all League awards can be found at

Statewide Plan to Curb Invasive Species

Invasive species are defined as plants, animals, and insects that are not native to Minnesota, and cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Zebra mussels, carp, buckthorn, and emerald ash borer are some of the top offenders, but the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council (MISAC) has identified 230 species that are harmful in the state, along with hundreds of others that could become problematic.

These numbers may seem overwhelming, but several environmental organizations offer solutions for reporting and controlling noxious pests. Many also have ideas for community engagement and participation.

MISAC is a multi-organization partnership that promotes communication and cooperation among the various groups involved in invasive species prevention and management. The Minnesota Management Plan for Invasive Species lists priorities and actions that government agencies and local organizations can assist in implementing.

Learn more at

Paynesville Police Department Implements Sabbaticals for Officers

After 24 years of serving as a police officer, Paynesville Police Chief Paul Wegner is willing to admit that officers don’t always prioritize taking care of themselves when given the hefty task of preserving the safety of their communities.

That’s why Wegner has implemented one-month sabbaticals for his officers, a policy that went into effect in January 2022. Paynesville officers must take their one-month sabbatical between their fifth and sixth years of service, and Wegner only has two rules for that month off.

“Don’t come into the office — only because that’s counterproductive to getting away,” says Wegner, “And two: don’t get arrested. That’s counterproductive to the career.”

Paynesville’s Police Department hopes the initiative will emphasize how invested it is in its officers’ wellbeing, but Wegner wants his officers to be the driving factor behind their own wellness.

“If I tell you I’m giving you a month off, now go and volunteer in the community … if you choose to do that, great,” says Wegner. “But you’re not accomplishing anything if I’m mandating you doing that on your time off.”

Looking for new ways to attract city employees? The League’s City Career Advantage site showcases new recruitment tactics fellow Minnesota cities have implemented. Check it out at