Belong and Prosper
“Welcome to Winona!” Hey, that has a nice ring to it. City officials must agree, because the City of Winona recently became Minnesota’s first “Welcoming America” city, joining over 100 other communities across the nation committing to help build a more inclusive environment for immigrants and newcomers. The Welcoming America program provides policy ideas, toolkits, and real-life examples from communities committed to welcoming and supporting the transition of immigrants. The program is also designed to recognize the steps that the city has already taken.
What’s in it for Winona and other cities joining the call? According to the Winona Post, regional employers are experiencing a worker shortage. Connecting the growing population of immigrants with the tools they need to establish themselves in the community and seek employment is seen as an important opportunity to spur the region’s economic growth. Learn more at www.welcomingamerica.org.
League Welcomes Its First CIO
The League of Minnesota Cities recently welcomed Melissa Reeder into the staff family as the organization’s first chief information officer (CIO). Reeder’s job will be to ensure the League’s use of technology is strategic and efficient. In time, she will also prepare League staff to serve as a resource for cities interested in taking their own use of technology to the next level. She most recently served in a similar role as information technology director of Carver County, and has more than 20 years of local government and private-sector experience in project management and tech leadership roles. Welcome, Mel! Learn more about Reeder at www.lmc.org/cio.
Your Own Medallion Hunt
Wintry weather is just around the corner, and it’s not too late to plan a bit of brisk outdoor fun. Join cities such as Chanhassen, Crosslake, and Nisswa, which collaborate with local chambers of commerce and other community partners to plan a medallion hunt as part of their winter celebrations. Key ingredients include prizes from local businesses (or cash!), fun riddles to post in local press and on community websites, and of course, a medallion to be hidden on public or participating private property. Lay out the rules of the hunt to keep everyone safe, and be sure to throw in a bonfire and some hot cocoa to round out the celebration.
LMC Makes Star Tribune 150 Top Workplaces List
The League of Minnesota Cities is happy to be named a Star Tribune Top 150 Workplace for the third year in a row. Rankings are based on anonymous surveys of staff that measure engagement, organizational health, and satisfaction. The League placed 16th among small employers for its qualities such as work-life balance, opportunities for career development, and the meaningful and interesting work we do for members!
We’re in good company. In addition to rubbing elbows with private businesses and organizations that are checking the “I love my job” box, the City of Eden Prairie made the list for midsized employers. Respondents in EP attribute the city’s innovative atmosphere, great residents, and daily variety for their job satisfaction.
NLC REPORT: Economic Development Is Top Issue for Cities
See what’s on the minds of mayors from across the country in the latest National League of Cities (NLC) analysis of state of the city addresses. The 2016 analysis identifies six trends ranging from careful investments of rebounding revenues to concerns about opioid addiction. The report also reveals the top 10 issues identified by mayors, sliced and diced for comparison. Two issues rise to the top in cities across the country. It’s probably no surprise that economic development and public safety were consistently called out by mayoral addresses from sea to shining sea. Read the full report at http://goo.gl/zBPjWZ.
Standing Ovation in Faribault
The City of Faribault Finance Department has recently provided stand-up, adjustable-height desktops to all department employees. The goal is to help employees avoid potential health risks that are reportedly associated with spending too much time on your caboose (work, dinner table, couch, repeat). Employees can easily raise or lower their new desktop platforms to standing or sitting height and can alternate their position throughout the day. Finance Director Karla McCall says, “Our employees are happy, energized, focused, alert, and burning extra calories—all while getting things done!”
McCall brought in the first standing desk because she herself was experiencing back problems, but quickly realized that the desks should be made available to her employees before other health problems cropped up. Faribault’s tech department did some research on an LMC listserv before choosing a brand that requires no assembly and is easy to lift up and down.
Columbia Heights Gets All-America A+
The City of Columbia Heights was recently named an All-America City for 2016 by the National Civic League. Ten cities from across the nation received the distinction. This year, the All-America Awards program highlighted communities working to “ensure that all our children are healthy and successful in school and life.” Judges for the award look for examples that show community engagement that is making an impact on critical challenges. Columbia Heights was honored for several initiatives involving the city’s Police Department, community partners, and the school district that are reducing youth crime and empowering the city’s children. The city and community partners also collaborated on construction of a new library funded by a voter-supported referendum in 2014.
Another Minnesota city—Woodbury—was named as one of 20 finalists in the national competition. It was recognized for a communitywide effort to build an accessible playground in 2015 and mass volunteer events to support Habitat for Humanity and Feed My Starving Children.
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