Friday, November 7, 2014

Gathering at the Community Table: A Round-Up of the 2014 Regional Meetings

Lakeville City Clerk Kelly Rasche
was at the table this year!
Coffee and conversation are Minnesota traditions—and city officials in our state are just like the rest of us…happy to indulge in both whenever (and wherever) possible!

Municipal leaders had the chance to do just that when the League of Minnesota Cities staff held a series of statewide Regional Meetings this October. Held every fall in different Greater Minnesota Cities (east, west, north, and south), this year we had a chance to visit with more than 300 city officials in eight locations.

The agenda was heavy on two-way dialogue, as well as the usual options for cream, sugar, or artificial sweetener, of course! Along with mayors, councilmembers and city staff gathered around tables to ponder two timely topics: effective strategies for authentic citizen engagement (or, simply put, how to get residents involved in city government), and maintaining work-life balance.

Discussion highlights included tips on getting citizens to attend city meetings, effective sharing of information, taking the city's message to residents at other community group meetings, and managing mobile phones, among others.

The issue of civility was also addressed—in cinematic fashion, no less. Attendees were treated to a newly-produced LMC video that featured the mayor, council, and staff of the fictional city "Mosquito Heights."
Meeting attendees prepare to watch the
latest Mosquito Heights production.

The latest Heightian adventure showed our characters struggling through the issue of building a new public safety center in a hostile environment marked by personality conflicts, role confusion, and angry citizens. Following the video, meeting attendees convened into roundtable groups to reflect on the potential causes and costs of incivility in their own communities, along with possible remedies.

Each gathering also featured a learning session on technology and data security, along with an update on League legislative activities. And at the conclusion of the meetings in each location, city officials had an opportunity to meet and greet local candidates for the state legislature.

On the whole, not bad for a day's work—all in the name of tradition!

P.S. - There is still one meeting left for this year. The Metro Regional Meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 12 in Minneapolis...get details and see the agenda online!

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