Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On the Road for Regional Meetings


Invitations to the first Regional Meeting were sent to surrounding counties "within driving distance" of the host city.

The year was 1931. The League’s membership had grown to 350 cities since its founding, and some on the executive committee were concerned that “our annual conventions are becoming more formal in character as our membership increases.”  

So a few on the committee suggested holding more informal meetings throughout the state, where municipal officials could gather to discuss what was going on in their area. Hence the idea of Regional Meetings was born!

The first Regional Meeting was held in Morris on October 22 of that year. One hundred members gathered that fall to discuss issues such as: poor relief (could community fund drives be held?), licensing and controlling of peddlers and solicitors (what could be done about the “undesirability of house to house canvassers?”), public utilities (should municipalities control electric light companies?), and taxes (could property taxes possibly be reduced by adopting an income tax?).

Eighty-two years later, League staffers still hit the road every fall to discuss timely topics with members around the state. With more than 800 members currently, Regional Meetings are now held in several locations (nine this year!), with several hundred city officials attending.

This year we’ll discuss federal health care reform (what should cities be doing to comply with the new mandates?), the legislative session (how did cities fare this year, and what’s in store for next session?), conflicts of interest (what are some examples members might encounter while conducting municipal business?), and incivility (how can city governments deal with this issue in the long term?).

And we’re coming full circle in 2013 as well: during this, our centennial year, we’ll be back in Morris where it all began. See you in October!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Founding Day and Plenty of Cake Too

While we're celebrating the League’s centennial all year long, it is on this very day in 1913 that we took our first steps forward.

This. Very. Day. That’s right, it’s our birthday. Who brought the party hats?

Perhaps because it takes a certain "je nai sais quoi" to pull off a party hat at the age of 100, we've come to refer to Aug. 21 as Founding Day instead.

 It's a great time to reflect on our simple beginnings, when 66 officials from 51 municipalities arrived at the doorstep of Minneapolis Mayor W.G. Nye to establish the framework of the organization.

Officers were elected; a constitution written and voted upon. The delegates dutifully continued to work during a luncheon held at the Elks' Club.

The secretary of the League of Iowa Municipalities was even on hand to help with the process.

The last course of action was to set the date and place of the upcoming convention, to be held in St. Paul during the month of October.

This year, Founding Day will come and go with business as usual, just as the first meeting of the League did 100 years ago. 

But maybe, just maybe, someone will bring party hats this time.

We're not sure why these city officials and Executive Director Don Slater (circa 1987) are in possession of so much cake, but we like where their heads are at.



 Want to know more about the League's founding? Check out this post from Jan. 16 for more background on LMC's beginnings!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

LMC and The Great Minnesota Get-Together

Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society


On the back cover of the August 1922 issue of Minnesota Municipalities magazine, an ad featured such various spectacles as “Dr. Carver’s Diving Horse,” a popular auto race, and Lillian Boyer and her Flying Circus (yep, that’s Lillian hanging out in the photo above). The event being touted?

Why, the Minnesota State Fair, of course.

Though we can’t promise anything as daredevil as Ms. Boyer’s high-flying act, the League of Minnesota Cities will once again be at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Our presence has grown mightily in the five short years LMC has been at the Fair: In 2009, the League shared a booth with Minnesota Public Radio for just one day. The next year we had our own booth in the Grandstand for all twelve days of the Fair. Then in 2011, LMC made the move to the Education Building, and that’s where we’ve found our home!

In past years, you may have stopped by the League booth to “be a city bean counter,” making tough decisions about spending priorities (just like city officials do every day). Or perhaps you watched one of our videos based on Minnesota icon Babe the Blue Ox, asking you to think “Outside the Ox” when it comes to funding city services.

So what’s on tap these days?

This year, step on up and play a game show with us! You’ll have some fun and learn about city services, too. And do you know a child who would like to be Mayor for a Day? Pick up a form and have them write an essay describing how they would run their city, if given the chance.

The League of Minnesota Cities will be at the fair every day in the Education Building—so stop by after you get your fill of cheese curds or gaze at the butter sculptures, will you? We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's in a Logo? You Decide.

League logos in chronological order, l-r, t-b.

A great logo can express what an organization is all about without speaking a word. So it goes to show that you can learn a lot about an organization from its logo! Can you "read" any League history from the images on the left? Let's take a look:

The first logo (top left) appeared in publications starting in the 1940s, and looks mighty academic.

Arrangements of the initials LMM (League of Minnesota Municipalities) then became a focal point through the '50s.

For the League's 50th anniversary in 1963, a combination of the two logos and the number "50" were incorporated together on publications.

Can you tell when the '60s and '70s arrived? Thought so.

In 1975 the logo was redesigned to reflect the name change to "League of Minnesota Cities."

The rectangular logo with a glimpse of skyline lasted from '88-'95 before the shape of the state was reincorporated.

A logo redesign in 2007 embraced the clock tower on the League's building. The hands of the clock point to 7:13 p.m., which in military time marks 19:13, or the year of our founding!

A simple banner marks our 100th year until 2014.

What will League logos say about the next 100 years ahead of us? Only time will tell!