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.

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The City Speak is now available on YouTube as well as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.

Most recent episodes:

I Wish I Could Say I’ve Never Made That Mistake

Crystal City Manager Anne Norris recalls how a budget process gone wrong provided a painful lesson on the importance of clear communication. She shares how owning the mistake helped rebuild trust with city officials and the community.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


I Wasn’t Engaging the Community

Buffalo Mayor Teri Lachermeier shares how a city redevelopment project taught her the importance of getting community input. She also describes her method to ensure people feel their opinion is heard.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Staying Plugged In

Chatfield Clerk Joel Young shares how seeing others become downtrodden and cynical reinforced the importance of maintaining connections and relationships with others in local government. He also reveals the one word that has helped him through some stressful times.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Mistakes Are Just Part of the Job

Biwabik Mayor Jim Weikum shares how a mistake he made taught him the importance of doing your homework and anticipating the perspectives of others. He also talks with us about a simple practice that can help elected leaders work successfully with each other.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Yeah, That Probably Wasn’t the Best Way to Handle It

Melrose City Administrator Colleen Winter talks with us about leadership lessons the pandemic has taught her. She shares how these experiences reinforced the importance of active listening and ensuring people feel heard along the way.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


The Importance of Words

Wyoming Mayor Lisa Iverson shares how a ride-along in a squad car gave her a new perspective on decision-making, and how the words she chooses in her city leadership role can help the public understand council action.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Everyone Needs a Buddy

Wadena Police Chief Naomi Plautz talks with us about the big role that mentors played in her leadership journey, and why we all need to have a buddy to support us and help do the hard things together.

Episode Transcript (pdf)


Not Every Idea Is a Good Idea

Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes chats with us about a leadership lesson that taught him the importance of embracing community input, and shares what keeps him going after nearly 30 years of serving his city.

Episode transcript (pdf)


Failing Forward

Baudette Clerk-Treasurer Tina Rennemo chats with us about lessons she’s learned in her career. She shares the importance of learning by making mistakes, and explains how focusing on the great things happening in her city helps her stay positive.

Season 4, Episode 2 Transcript (pdf)


Don’t Lose Sight of the Things That Aren’t on Fire

Brooklyn Park Fire Chief and President of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association T. John Cunningham shares stories from his experiences as a public sector leader and some of the valuable lessons he’s learned. Cunningham also shares his advice on surrounding yourself with supportive peers and keeping your focus on the important things even when the metaphorical fires are all around you.

Season 4, Episode 1 Transcript (pdf)


Season 4 Preview: My First Leadership Test and I Didn’t Even Know It

This teaser episode for season four of The City Speak features League of Minnesota Cities Executive Director Dave Unmacht. Dave shares a story about a surprise meeting early in his career where he learned that his transition to a new role was not going well. Hear how that feedback helped to shape his approach to managing and leading in what he considers to be a true “aha” moment in life and leadership.

Season 4 Preview Episode Transcript (pdf)

Highlights from Season 3

Two League Interns Talk Race Equity

League of Minnesota Cities intern and college senior Laurel Poole takes over the hosting duties in this bonus episode, interviewing fellow intern and classmate Elijah Henderson. Henderson spent the summer focusing on research for the League’s race equity initiatives, including conducting interviews with city officials of color. Elijah shares some of the themes he heard in their experiences, and explains how this work has inspired him to become a part of local government.

Season 3 Episode 11 Transcript (pdf)


Protecting the Mental Health of First Responders

Community first responders are repeatedly exposed to trauma, and that trauma can take its toll. Dan Willis, retired police captain and author of Bulletproof Spirit, talks with us about proactive wellness strategies for first responders. He explains the cultural shift needed to emphasize emotional survival as well as physical survival, and how promoting a heart-centered approach to work can help keep those in public safety motivated, inspired, and connected to the true nobility of what it means to be a first responder.

Season 3 Episode 8 Transcript (pdf)


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.

Season 3 Episode 7 Transcript (pdf)


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