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Events

As has become recent tradition for the CGMC, we will be holding an end-of-session lobby day and ice cream social to make a final push for our top priorities in the waning days of the legislative session. The event, which will be held in St. Paul on Wednesday, May 9, will give Greater Minnesota city officials and other community leaders a chance to meet with legislators and demand that they pass bills that address CGMC priorities such as LGA, wastewater infrastructure and child care.

The tentative schedule for the day is as follows:

  • 10:30 a.m. – Legislative update and messaging (Room 500 North in the State Office Building, located across the street from the State Capitol)
  • Afternoon – Meetings with legislators (attendees should make appointments with their own legislators; we may also ask some attendees to participate in additional meetings with key legislators)
  • 2-3 p.m. – Ice cream social with legislators and legislative staff (L’etoile du Nord Vault Room in the Basement of the State Capitol)

Lobby Day is FREE to attend, but we ask that you register at greatermncities.org/IceCream2018 by Monday, May 7 so that we can coordinate meetings. Free parking is available at the Flaherty & Hood office located at 525 Park St. in St. Paul, just one block from the State Capitol, as long as you print off this parking pass (which is good only for May 9) and put it on your dashboard.

We hope to get as many city officials to attend as possible! Please share this Lobby Day Flyer and encourage other city officials and staff to join us. If you have any questions, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917.

The CGMC is currently accepting proposals from cities interested in hosting the 2019 CGMC Summer Conference. Since this year’s conference will be jointly hosted by Mankato, North Mankato and St. Peter, we are seeking a northern or north-central CGMC member city (or group of cities) to host in 2019. This RFP outlines the details involved in being the host city, as well as the proposed conference dates and how to apply. For additional information, please view this sample conference agenda. Proposals are due Friday, May 18.

If you have any questions about hosting the summer conference, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com.

The 2018 CGMC Labor & Employee Relations Seminars will be held Thursday, June 7 in Albert Lea and Thursday, June 14 in Detroit Lakes. Each seminar is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. Please register today as space is limited!  You can register at greatermncities.org/2018laborseminars. More details on the agenda and venue information can be found here.

The seminars are focused on practical and legal solutions for providing services and managing employees in local government. They will provide relevant and timely advice on the following topics (and more!):

  • Understanding fire department’s unique organizational and personnel issues
  • How to organize and communicate personnel data the right way
  • Health insurance legal and marketplace update
  • Settlement, interest arbitration, and Legislative update
  • Brenda Cossette’s mock negotiations

We hope all units of government will send representatives (e.g., managers and administrators, human resources personnel and elected officials) to this valuable program. Feel free to forward this information to interested persons in your unit of government or other units of government. Both CGMC members and non-members are welcome to attend.

For more information, contact Karina Patino at (651) 259-1919 or kpatino@flaherty-hood.com.

CGMC Legislative Action Day was a huge success! More than 110 city officials and business leaders from nearly 50 cities attended the CGMC’s annual lobbying event on March 14. We also had great attendance from legislators at the reception and dinner that capped off the day at Mancini’s — a bipartisan mix of more than 40 legislators representing both rural and urban districts mingled with CGMC members over a steak dinner, despite having to move to our event to an earlier time due to the Governor’s State of the State Address that evening.

One of the highlights of this year’s Legislative Action Day was a lunchtime panel discussion featuring Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa), Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park). This is the first time in recent memory that all four legislative leaders have addressed the CGMC membership at the same time.

Discussing their goals for the legislative session, there was agreement among all four legislators that a top priority is passing a bonding bill that is heavily focused on replacing old or outdated infrastructure. Sen. Bakk said he is seeking a bill that is somewhere around $1 billion, while Sen. Gazelka and Speaker Daudt said they expect the bill to be $800 million or less. The legislators also discussed the state’s budget situation, with several noting that the recent February Forecast (which showed a $329 million surplus) was lower than expected. Sen. Gazelka and Speaker Daudt emphasized that economic indicators are positive at both the state and national levels and expressed disappointment with Minnesota Management & Budget’s (MMB) forecast predictions. However, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Hortman said there are a potentially troubling signs ahead for the state budget, particularly due to inflation and slowing job growth. When asked what advice they would give to the next governor, Rep. Hortman urged him or her to invest in our state’s workforce and education system. Sen. Bakk, who jokingly predicted that the next governor will be named “Tim,” echoed Rep. Hortman’s comments and said a strong investment in our workforce is what makes Minnesota great. Speaker Daudt said the next governor needs to focus on keeping Minnesota competitive, claiming that our current tax system encourages residents and businesses to go elsewhere. Sen. Gazelka advised the next governor to be accurate when predicting the future (harking back to his assertion that the recent MMB numbers are flawed) and urged them not to be afraid to reform. You can watch video of the full panel discussion here.

Legislative Action Day attendees then spent the afternoon meeting with legislators at the Capitol and urging them to support CGMC proposals on LGA, water infrastructure funding, child care and other important issues. A copy of the lobbying packet that was given to legislators can be found here.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in Legislative Action Day!

Legislative Action Day right around the corner! We are expecting a large turnout of more than 100 mayors, city councilors and city staff members to join us for our annual CGMC lobby day on Wednesday, March 14. With so many Greater Minnesota city officials descending on the Capitol at once, it will be a great opportunity to band together and advocate for the needs and concerns of rural communities.

Although the initial deadline has passed, we are still accepting registrations. Please visit greatermncities.org/LAD2018 to fill out the online registration form.

The Legislative Action Day schedule is as follows:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Registration begins at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge in St. Paul
  • 10:30 a.m. – Legislative update & message for legislators
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch & panel discussion featuring legislative leaders (Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman are all confirmed)
  • 1-4 p.m. – Lobby at the Capitol (reminder: attendees must make their own lobbying appointments)
  • 4 p.m. – Legislative reception at Mancini’s
  • 5 p.m. – Dinner with legislators at Mancini’s

Note about parking at the Best Western Capitol Ridge: There is free parking available at the hotel. However, the parking lot is controlled by a gate. When guests arrive, they should take a ticket at the gate, and when they leave they will need to enter a code that will be posted at the exit gate. 

If you have any questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917.

This should make for an interesting discussion! All four legislative leaders —Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman — have confirmed that they will participate in the lunch-time panel discussion at CGMC’s Legislative Action Day on Wednesday, March 14. This is the first time in recent years that all four legislative leaders have agreed to sit on a panel together at a CGMC event. We are looking forward to a robust discussion on Greater Minnesota issues such as Local Government Aid, infrastructure funding, water quality regulations and child care.

In addition to the panel discussion, Legislative Action Day also provides a great opportunity to learn more about legislative issues affecting your community and to lobby for Greater Minnesota priorities at the State Capitol. As is our tradition, the day-long event concludes with a reception and dinner with legislators at Mancini’s Char House in St. Paul. The full Legislative Action Day agenda and venue information can be found here.

If you have not yet registered for Legislative Action Day, please do so by filling out the online registration form at greatermncities.org/LAD2018. Please register by Feb. 28.

We are looking forward to seeing our CGMC members at Legislative Action Day on Wednesday, March 14! Please note that there has been a slight change to the day’s schedule — we have moved the legislative reception at Mancini’s up to 4 p.m. and moved dinner to 5 p.m. (they were previously scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively). We decided to move the reception and dinner to the earlier time after it was announced that Governor Dayton will be holding his State of the State Address that evening. While the earlier times may cut into some of our lobbying time, they should allow legislators to be able to attend both our event and the Governor’s speech.

The full Legislative Action Day schedule is now as follows:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Registration begins at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge in St. Paul
  • 10:30 a.m. – Legislative update & message for legislators
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch & panel discussion featuring legislative leaders (Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman are confirmed; we are waiting to hear back from Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka)
  • 1-4 p.m. – Lobby at the Capitol (reminder: attendees must make their own lobbying appointments)
  • 4 p.m. – Legislative reception at Mancini’s
  • 5 p.m. – Dinner with legislators at Mancini’s

If you have not yet registered for Legislative Action Day, please do so by filling out the online registration form at greatermncities.org/LAD2018. The full agenda and venue information can be found on this Legislative Action Day flyer. Please register by Feb. 28.

In addition, we were able to get an extension on the block of hotel rooms that we have reserved for the CGMC for the nights of March 13-14 at Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge. Members now have until Feb. 20 to book a room under our discounted rate ($139+tax). Call the hotel at 651-227-8711 to make a reservation.

If you have any questions about the time changes or Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com.

Registration is now open for the CGMC’s Legislative Action Day 2018! It will be held Wednesday, March 14 at the conference center at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge (formerly the Kelly Inn) in St. Paul, located one block from the State Office Building. Due to the overwhelming interest last year, we have reserved a larger space for this year’s event.

Legislative Action Day is always a great opportunity to build connections between local officials and legislators and advocate for the priorities of Greater Minnesota cities. To attend, please go to greatermncities.org/LAD2018 to fill out the online registration form. The cost is $70 per person, and attendees may pay online or be invoiced later. Please register by Feb. 28.

The day will kick off with a brief legislative update in the morning followed by lunch featuring yet-to-be-determined speakers (House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman  are confirmed to attend; Senate Majority Paul Gazelka has yet to respond to our invitation). Members will then spend the afternoon meeting with their legislators at the House and Senate offices (members should make their own appointments for meetings with legislators between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. that day). The daylong event concludes with a legislative reception and dinner at Mancini’s Char House & Lounge that evening. The full agenda and venue information can be found on this Legislative Action Day flyer.

For those who want to spend the night in St. Paul, a block of rooms is reserved for the CGMC for the nights of March 13-14 at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge ($139+tax, call 651-227-8711 to book). Members are encouraged to book their rooms early as the block closes Feb. 20.

If you have any questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917.

We hope to see you there!

Thank you to everyone who attended the CGMC Fall Conference last week at Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center. More than 100 city leaders representing 50 cities attended the conference — a record attendance!

The conference kicked off Thursday afternoon with a presentation by Marnie Werner, acting director of the Center for Rural Policy, on their study titled “A Quiet Crisis: Minnesota’s Child Care Shortage.” You can watch video of her presentation here and read her Power Point presentation here.

After Werner’s presentation, we delved further into the issues surrounding Greater Minnesota’s child care shortage with a panel discussion featuring Nancy Jost, early childhood coordinator for West Central Initiative; Tim Penny, president and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation; Jessica Beyer, business development specialist for First Children’s Finance; and Amanda Benda, director of Little Huskies Daycare Center & Preschool in Jackson, Minn. The discussion was moderated by Dan Dorman, executive director of the Greater Minnesota Partnership. Each panelist provided a unique perspective on the issue and offered suggestions on ways city leaders can be more involved in developing solutions. You can watch the panel discussion here.

Broadband was also an important topic at the conference. Bill Coleman, president of Community Technology Advisors and a consultant for the Blandin Foundation, informed attendees about where broadband access stands in Greater Minnesota and outlined the economic impact of world-class broadband infrastructure. You can watch Coleman’s presentation here and read his Power Point Presentation here.
After Coleman’s presentation, CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson moderated a legislative panel discussion featuring Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), Rep. Ben Lien (DFL-Moorhead) and Rep. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville). The panelists discussed the impact of the 2017 legislative session and plans for 2018. The conversation touched on issues such as transportation, bonding and the ongoing lawsuit between the Legislature and Gov. Dayton.

The afternoon was capped by another panel discussion, this one on the role of elected officials in labor and employee relations. Brandon Fitzsimmons, an attorney with Flaherty & Hood, moderated a discussion featuring Waite Park City Administrator Shaunna Johnson, Alexandria City Administrator Marty Schultz and Moorhead City Manager Chris Volkers in which they talked about the “productive” and “unproductive” involvement of elected officials in dealing with unions and personnel issues.

In the evening, attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception and dinner followed by an entertaining and informative quiz show led by the award-winning Theater of Public Policy. During the show, three teams squared off against each other in a battle to see who knew the most about random Greater Minnesota trivia, the history of LGA and other various topics. To the audience’s surprise, Team Lobbyist (Flaherty & Hood lobbyists Tim Flaherty and Marty Seifert) ultimately bested Team Mayor (Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski and Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson) and Team Administrator (Slayton City Administrator Josh Malchow and Virginia City Administration Britt See-Benes) to take the quiz show crown.

In addition to speakers and presentations, the conference also included a membership meeting on Friday morning during which members discussed and adopted the CGMC’s 2018 legislative policy positions. To review the adopted positions, click on the following subject areas: Annexation & Land Use, Economic Development, Environment & Energy, LGA & Property Taxes and Transportation. You can also read more about the top priorities for the upcoming legislative in this CGMC Press Release that was sent to the media at the conclusion of the conference.

Thanks again to everyone who attended our 2017 Fall Conference! Please check out the photo gallery on our Facebook page to see pictures from the conference.

For Immediate Release
Nov. 17, 2017
Contact: Julie Liew, jlliew@flaherty-hood.com 

A PDF version of this press release is available here.                                                                            

Greater Minnesota city leaders to state lawmakers: Now is not the time to press the pause button

ALEXANDRIA, MINN.— As the legal fight over funding for the Legislature drags on and the 2018 governor’s race heats up, Greater Minnesota city leaders are urging lawmakers to keep their focus on the upcoming legislative session and not fall prey to distractions. 

More than 100 other city officials from throughout Greater Minnesota convened in Alexandria this week for the CGMC’s annual two-day fall conference. At the event, CGMC members adopted the organization’s policy positions and discussed legislative priorities for the 2018 legislative session. While a bonding bill, local government aid (LGA) and city streets were among the top issues, city leaders also stressed the importance of making sure legislators stay on task.

“Now is not the time to press the pause button,” said Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski, who serves as president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC). “Greater Minnesota still has a lot of unaddressed needs. We are counting on our legislators to stay focused on their jobs and their commitment to strengthening our communities.”

Bemidji City Councilor Ron Johnson voiced concern that with an election looming, legislators may be more interested in touting accomplishments from last session than passing new legislation in 2018.

“The Legislature may have passed tax, transportation and bonding bills last year, but that doesn’t mean their job is done for the biennium,” said Bemidji City Councilor Ron Johnson. “Truth is, the progress made in 2017 only scratches the surface when it comes to meeting all of the ongoing and growing needs in our city and others in Greater Minnesota.”

City officials who attended the conference agreed that a bonding bill likely poses the best hope for passing a piece of major legislation in 2018, noting that many legislators have voiced a desire for a large public works bill to make key investments in the state’s infrastructure. While each city has its own individual needs, a recurring theme throughout Greater Minnesota is the need for additional state bonding dollars to help repair or replace aging waste water treatment facilities.

In addition to bonding, the CGMC plans to advocate for an LGA increase to help cities make up for inflation and increasing costs, as well as funding to assist with much-needed repairs to city streets. There are also a number of issues on the horizon that the CGMC hopes the Legislature will keep on its radar, including the impact a national tax overhaul could have on local communities and the growing child care shortage in Greater Minnesota.

“Legislators and the Governor will have plenty of work to cram into a few short weeks,” Smiglewski said. “Residents of Greater Minnesota expect our state leaders to set their squabbles aside, buckle down and pass legislation that will invest in the future of our communities.”

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