Logo graphic for The City Speak Podcast: Short Takes on City IssuesGet short takes on city issues.

Looking for a new way to learn about topics that are important to Minnesota cities? The City Speak podcast provides short takes on city issues — from timely topics like legislative updates, to perennial content like city budgets and collaboration. You’ll hear engaging interviews and firsthand accounts of cities using their heart, hard work, and humanity as they provide excellence in city government across the state.

At less than 30 minutes apiece, you can listen to episodes of The City Speak during your drive time, on your lunch break, or while taking a walk.

Subscribe to The City Speak podcast

The City Speak is also available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Music, Pocketcast, and Stitcher.

Most recent episodes:

We’ve Got You Covered

Dan Greensweig, administrator of the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, shares some interesting takes on how the Trust partners with cities on managing risk and solving problems. Dan explains how preventing claims is just as important as providing coverage protection, and talks about Trust efforts to help cities deal with some of the bigger challenges and issues they are facing these days.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Two Mayors Talk City Budgets

It’s that time again — budget season is here, and this year there’s the added twist of factoring in the impacts of a global pandemic. Carver Mayor Courtney Johnson and Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse share the challenges their cities face as they make difficult decisions on spending and city services. Hear about the importance of transparency and educating others on the budgeting process, and how tenacity and creative approaches are helping these mayors tackle complex budget issues this year.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Women in City Government

As we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, we talk with three city leaders about the opportunities, challenges, and impact of women in city government today. Maplewood Assistant City Manager Michael Sable, Sartell City Administrator Anna Gruber, and Richfield Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez share their experiences and insights on the importance of listening to understand, making space for others, and mentoring to encourage the next generation of women city leaders.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Bridging Social Capital Across Multicultural Communities

Mahnomen City Administrator Mitchell Berg shares the results of his doctoral research on tribal and municipal relations. Even if your city doesn’t have the opportunity to work with a tribal nation, his findings on the trust, purposeful engagement, and skills needed to build intergovernmental collaborations can be applied to strengthen relationships with partners of any background.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Everything’s Better with Better Broadband

Access to reliable, high-speed internet is vital to the economic success of a community — a big reason why Minnesota has a goal of border-to-border broadband by 2026. But building a broadband infrastructure in a community takes more than technical know-how. Blandin Foundation’s Bernadine Joselyn, director of public policy & engagement, and Bill Coleman, community broadband coach, talk about how technology is just a small piece of the broadband puzzle and how hope, tenacity (gird your loins!), and local leadership are the key ingredients to bringing border-to-border broadband services to cities.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Finding Silver Linings: Brainerd’s Reopening Story

Brainerd City Administrator Jennifer Bergman and Human Resources Director Kris Schubert share the unique challenges their city faced (including a fire at City Hall) while working to reopen the city during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear how their preparedness plan, a priority on safety, pride in their city, and ability to find the positives during a crisis helped them get their City Hall up and running again.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Jump-Starting Main Street

Discover how the City of Watertown created its own economic stimulus package to help Main Street businesses and residents weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Watertown Mayor Steve Washburn shares how partnerships, innovative thinking, and quick work got $96,000 worth of “Chamber Checks” into residents’ hands to help boost the local economy and morale in the community.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


A Conversation With U.S. Representatives Craig and Stauber

Hear from two members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation as we talk with Rep. Angie Craig (2nd Congressional District) and Rep. Pete Stauber (8th Congressional District). They share their opinions about direct federal aid to cities responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and what the role of federal government should be as we look toward meaningful change to address the racial injustices in our country.


#WeGotThis Series: Mark Ruff

In this episode of the #WeGotThis Series on pandemic response, Minneapolis Interim City Coordinator Mark Ruff, a public finance expert, shares his thoughts on basic actions cities can take now to help weather economic uncertainty, where cities can find opportunity in a down market, and what financial changes will most impact cities. He also offers advice for communicating with the public about city finances (be honest, be direct, be bold), and reminds us that cities are forever — we have lived through crises in the past and will continue to thrive when this one is over. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.


#WeGotThis Series: Mike Goldstein

In this episode of the #WeGotThis Series on pandemic response, Plymouth Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Mike Goldstein shares how his city’s emergency management planning prepared them for the pandemic (including a stockpile of PPE), and how creative scheduling and staffing plans help to ensure the safety of their officers. He also discusses the challenge of providing the level of service they take pride in while shifting away from direct interactions, and the encouragement he gets during these daunting times from seeing others pause and re-evaluate what’s important to them. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.


#WeGotThis Series: Jenny Max

In this episode of the #WeGotThis Series on pandemic response, Nisswa City Administrator Jenny Max discusses the steps her city has taken to keep things running and the positive relationships they’ve forged with other entities as they work together to do what’s right and keep everyone safe. She also shares her concerns for the local tourism economy and the challenges of moving everyone forward as a team. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.


#WeGotThis Series: Tracy Bertram

In this episode of the #WeGotThis Series on pandemic response, we talk with Becker Mayor Tracy Bertram, whose city dealt with a large fire just prior to the current COVID-19 crisis. Hear how that first incident helped to build the leadership team and trust that are so crucial today. She also shares how she makes decisions (including the toughest decision she’s made so far), what lessons the city has learned, and how impressed she is with the positivity of the people in her community and their willingness to do what’s needed to make things better for everyone. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.


#WeGotThis Series: Andrea Lauer

In this episode of the #WeGotThis Series on pandemic response, Royalton Mayor Andrea Lauer shares the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on her community and what it’s like to lead a city in times like these. Hear about the challenges of using technology for meetings (sound familiar?), her concerns about the safety of city staff and the survival of local businesses, and how the actions of the wonderful people in her city bring her hope and assurance that they’ll get through this together. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.


#WeGotThis Series: David Unmacht

Minnesota cities are facing the challenge of pandemic response, but working together, #WeGotThis! In this first episode of the #WeGotThis Series, we talk with League of Minnesota Cities Executive Director David Unmacht about how the League has responded during the COVID-19 pandemic. He shares advice he has for city leaders (be human!), what he has learned, what has surprised him, and what gives him hope during these rapidly changing times. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.


Find more episodes of The City Speak podcast