Category archives
Summer Conference

Now that most of the snow is melted, temperatures are rising and the legislative session is officially over, it is time to switch gears and start focusing on all of the CGMC’s summer events and activities.

In our annual tradition, in the coming months CGMC staff will be traveling to many of our member cities to update city officials on the legislative outcomes and other accomplishments and activities from the past year.  While we are not able to visit all 97 CGMC members, we will be reaching out to many of you soon to set up meetings.

In addition, we have several events coming up that we hope you will be able to attend:

  • Labor & Employee Relations Seminars: June 6 in Brainerd and June 13 in New Ulm – These seminars focus on practical and legal solutions for providing services and managing employees in local government. They will provide timely and relevant advice on topics such as employee background checks, administrating family and medical-related leaves, police departments’ unique personnel issues and more. Click here for more information on the seminars. Please register online at
  • CGMC Breakfast at the LMC Conference: June 27 in Duluth – The CGMC will be hosting a breakfast during the League of Minnesota Cities’ annual conference. CGMC staff members Scott McMahon and Shane Zahrt will be leading a presentation and discussion regarding child care issues in Greater Minnesota. This also serves as a great opportunity to recruit new member cities — please encourage non-CGMC members to attend as well!
  • CGMC Summer Conference: July 24-26 in Bemidji  – We have a great conference lined up! It will feature presentations and discussion on topics such as “Why Greater Minnesota needs to be a pain in the behind,” housing, innovative job training programs, environmental clean-up, economic development and more, as well as opportunities to explore the beautiful city of Bemidji and learn about some of the great things happening there. Click here to see the conference agenda and hotel information. Please register online at

For more information on all of the CGMC’s conferences and events, please visit our website at

Registration is now open for the 2019 CGMC Summer Conference, which will be held July 24-26 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji!

During the conference you will:

  • Learn about emerging trends and challenges facing Greater Minnesota communities
  • Find out how the results of the 2019 legislative session could impact your community — and what legislative issues are on the horizon for 2020 and beyond
  • Watch in-depth presentations and participate in discussions on critical issues such as workforce development, housing, environmental clean-up and restoration, and economic development
  • Explore the city of Bemidji by taking part in tours and during a city-sponsored reception, dinner and entertainment
  • Learn about new services, businesses and organizations at the exhibitors’ tradeshow
  • Forge connections with other city leaders from across Greater Minnesota by sharing your ideas, concerns and hopes for the future

See this CONFERENCE AGENDA & VENUE INFORMATION for more detailed information about the 2019 conference.

Please register online at The cost for the three-day conference is $260. The deadline to register is July 17.

The Country Inn & Suites in Bemidji has a block of rooms reserved for CGMC Summer Conference attendees at a discounted rate of $114-$139 (plus tax) per night, depending on room type. Call the hotel at 218-441-4800 to make a reservation. The block closes June 24.  Please note that attendees are responsible for their own hotel reservations.

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Julie Liew at or (651) 259-1917

Promote your business or organization by being an exhibitor at the CGMC Summer Conference!The CGMC is an advocacy organization representing 97 cities outside the metro area. Our upcoming annual summer conference will be held July 24-26 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn. More than 100 mayors, city council members, administrators and other community leaders are expected to attend.

Exhibitors will have ample opportunity to interact with attendees so that they can learn about the services or products you provide. Here are some details about what exhibitors can expect from this event:

  • Set exhibiting hours from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 25.
  • The conference agenda includes designated time allotted for attendees to meet with exhibitors.
  • The dedicated exhibitor space next to the presentation rooms will offer ample space for displays and conversations with conference attendees.
  • Exhibitors will also have the opportunity to socialize with city officials during meals and special events, including the keynote lunch, afternoon cocktail reception and Legislative Awards Dinner that evening.

More details are available on this Exhibitor Information & Registration Form. Exhibitors are encouraged to register early as space is limited.

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Liew at or 651-259-1917.

The CGMC is currently accepting proposals from cities interested in hosting the 2020 CGMC Summer Conference. Since the upcoming 2019 conference will be hosted by the city of Bemidji, we are seeking a  southern or south-central CGMC member city (or group of cities) to host in 2020. 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 24.

If you have any questions about hosting the summer conference, please contact Julie Liew at

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 — setting an attendance record for the second straight year!

The conference kicked off Thursday afternoon with a presentation by Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans, who shared insights into his past eight years as a member of Gov. Dayton’s administration and the ups and downs our state budget faced during that time. He also provided information on the state’s current economic outlook and what could be in store for the budget in the near future. You can read Frans’ presentation here.
Following Frans’ presentation, we delved into a panel discussion on the rural/urban divide and the role city leaders can play in helping to bridge the gaps between the various and diverse communities in Minnesota. Panelists included Ben Schierer, mayor of Fergus Falls; Suzanne Hilgert, mayor of Olivia; Peter Lindstrom, mayor of Falcon Heights, and Brad Tabke, former mayor of Shakopee and a newly elected state representative. The panelists shared examples of ways they have learned from leaders in other parts of the state and discussed the issues in which they wish there was better understanding between rural and urban communities. Conference attendees also participated in small group discussions where they brainstormed ideas on steps they can take within their cities to help bridge the rural/urban divide.
With the conference being held just a little over a week after the midterm elections, it would not have been complete with a good ‘ole CGMC election recap. CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson provided in-depth analysis of the 2018 election results — particularly the race for governor and the Minnesota House — and what they could mean for CGMC priorities and other issues in the upcoming legislative session. You can read Bradley’s presentation here.  
After the election analysis, we welcomed several legislators for a panel discussion on one of the most critical issues currently impacting Greater Minnesota: the child care shortage. Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of Region Nine Development Commission and president of the Greater Minnesota Partnership, moderated the discussion featuring Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley), Sen. Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks), Sen. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) and Rep. Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne). You can watch video of the discussion here.
Annexation is another important topic explored at the conference. CGMC lobbyist Elizabeth Wefel informed attendees about some looming concerns, particularly the possibility that the CGMC and cities may need to play defense on legislation being proposed by township groups that could thwart cities’ ability to pursue annexations. You can read Elizabeth’s Power Point presentation here.
In the evening, attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception and dinner followed by an excellent presentation by Emmy-award winning reporter Tom Hauser of ABC 5 Eyewitness News. A veteran political reporter, Hauser shared his take on the national and state election results and some of the issues that could be on the horizon in the future.
Friday morning kicked off with a presentation/discussion led by Brandon Fitzsimmons, a labor and employment attorney with Flaherty & Hood, on how to effectively evaluate the performance of city administrators and managers. Waite Park City Administrator Shaunna Johnson and Mayor Rick Miller shared their stories on this issue and provided advice on how to help performance evaluations run smoothly. You can read Brandon’s Power Point presentation here.

In addition to speakers and presentations, the conference also included a membership meeting Friday morning during which members discussed and adopted the CGMC’s 2019 legislative policy positions. To review the adopted positions, click on the following subject areas:

Members also discussed the CGMC’s legislative priorities for 2019 and learned about our initial messaging and strategy plans for the upcoming legislative session.

Thanks again to everyone who attended our 2018 Fall Conference. We look forward to seeing you again at our next CGMC event – Legislative Action Day on Jan. 30 in St. Paul. We will send out registration information for Legislative Action Day soon!

The  CGMC honored 23 legislators and city leaders at our 2018 Legislative Awards Dinner, which was held July 26 in Mankato. A copy of the awards program handed out at the event can be found here. Click on the award recipients’ name to read a press release that outlines their accomplishments over the past year.

Legislator of Distinction- Economic Development

Legislator of Distinction- Environment

Legislator of Distinction- Transportation

Minnesota Legacy Award – Awarded—upon their retirement—to legislators who have demonstrated unfailing commitment and made extraordinary contributions to Greater Minnesota during their legislative careers.

Excellence in Service (elected officials) – Awarded to CGMC elected officials who demonstrated knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the preceding session and/or an extended period of time.

Excellence in Service (city staff) – Awarded to CGMC city managers/administrators or city staff who demonstrated knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the preceding session and/or an extended period of time.

Jack Murray Award for Distinguished Rural Leadership (retiring elected officials) – Awarded—upon their retirement from public service—to CGMC mayors and elected officials who have made special contributions to the CGMC over a multi-year career. The award is named after Jack Murray, former mayor of International Falls, who was instrumental in the CGMC’s formation.

Bob Filson Award for Distinguished Rural Leadership (retiring staff) – Awarded—upon their retirement from public service—to CGMC city managers/administrators or key staff members who made special contributions to the CGMC over a multi-year career. The award is named after Bob Filson, former city manager of Worthington, who showed consistent and relentless dedication to whatever mattered to the CGMC and its members.

Friend of the CGMC – Awarded to individuals (not legislators or CGMC city officials) or organizations who have helped advance CGMC priorities and/or made important contributions to Greater Minnesota.

President’s Award – Awarded to the outgoing CGMC president.

To see photos from the cocktail reception and awards dinner, click here.

We want to give a big thank you to the  businesses and organizations who participated in the exhibitors’ tradeshow at the CGMC Summer Conference in Mankato on July 26. Your support helps us put on events like this!

The CGMC Summer Conference is less than two weeks away! If you have not yet registered, please do so at The deadline to register is Wednesday, July 18.
We have a great agenda lined up for the conference, which will be held July 25-27 and co-hosted by the cities of Mankato, North Mankato and St. Peter. Highlights include:

  • An interactive discussion/presentation on “the good, the bad and the ugly” of the 2018 legislative session and a preview of the upcoming election
  • A keynote luncheon featuring speaker Kevin Lindsey, Commissioner of the MN Department of Human Rights
  • A legislative panel discussion on economic development
  • A gubernatorial candidate forum focused on issues that affect Greater Minnesota communities
  • A panel discussion on the ways farmers, ag industries and cities can work together to address water-quality concerns
  • Opportunities to explore the cities of Mankato, North Mankato and St. Peter
  • An awards dinner honoring legislators and city officials who were instrumental in advancing CGMC priorities over the past year
  • …and much more!

If you have any questions about the conference or the gubernatorial forum, please contact Julie Liew at or 651-259-1917.

With the primary elections only weeks away, one of the highlights of the upcoming CGMC Summer Conference is a forum featuring the candidates vying to be Minnesota’s next governor. Thus far, three candidates have confirmed their participation in the forum: DFL candidates State Rep. Erin Murphy, Attorney General Lori Swanson and Congressman Tim Walz and GOP candidate Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. Former Governor Tim Pawlenty has yet to respond to our invitations.

The forum, which is co-hosted by CGMC, Greater Mankato Growth and the Greater Minnesota Partnership, will focus on issues important to Greater Minnesota communities such as Local Government Aid, the child care shortage, water quality regulations, transportation, infrastructure needs, housing and job training. It will be one of the few opportunities to learn about where the candidates stand on these crucial issues prior to the Aug. 14 primary.

The 90-minute forum will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 26 in the Grand Hall at the Verizon Center in Mankato. The event is free and open to the public, so we encourage you to attend — even if you are unable to attend the full CGMC Summer Conference — and to bring others as well. All CGMC members are also invited to join us immediately after the forum for discussion and dessert in the Reception Hall at the Verizon Center.

For those who are unable to attend the forum in person, we are partnering with the award-winning KTV public access station to do a live broadcast online at and also on TV in the Mankato area.