(June 23, 2023 – St. Paul, MN)
Chatfield City Administrator Joel Young was named the League of Minnesota Cities’ (LMC) 2023 James F. Miller Leadership Award recipient yesterday at the League’s Annual Conference in Duluth.
Young has served as Chatfield’s city administrator since 1991 and has brought technical expertise to his position while still maintaining the interpersonal skills necessary to ensure Chatfield’s residents, staff, and elected leaders feel valued and heard.
When Chatfield built its new elementary school, Young helped re-purpose the previous elementary school into a regional arts center and sought state funding to restore and modernize the historic building. Young advocated for Chatfield’s case for state bonding at the Minnesota Legislature for more than a decade before the proposal passed in 2020. The city opened the Chatfield Center for the Arts in 2022, and it now hosts school plays and concerts, as well as local, state, and national artists.
In 1998, the Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities (SEMLM) debated whether to discontinue its organization due to low participation numbers. Young showed his support for SEMLM, recruited its next vice president, and helped the organization grow from serving three counties to 11 counties and 80 cities over the next 20 years.
Young has also been an integral member of the Minnesota Association of Small Cities, and served on the LMC Board of Directors and the LMC Small Cities Financial Viability Task Force.
The Leadership Award is considered the League’s highest honor for appointed city officials and is given annually in recognition for outstanding service. It is named for former League executive director James F. Miller, who retired in 2015 after 22 years of service.
The League of Minnesota Cities is a membership organization dedicated to helping cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through effective advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action. The League serves its 838 member cities through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management, and other services.