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Over 500 attendees helped the League celebrate 100 years of Minnesota cities working together at the 2013 LMC Annual Conference and Marketplace, June 19-21 in St. Paul.
Appropriately, the event kicked off on Wednesday, June 19, with the crowd joining LMC President Betsy Hodges in a moving rendition of Happy Birthday during the opening ceremony. Then, LMC’s Intergovernmental Relations team paid tribute to the League’s history during their policy update by showcasing legislative accomplishments through the decades, as well as sharing the latest news from the state Capitol.
Later that evening, members enjoyed a centennial celebration at the newly restored Union Depot in downtown St. Paul. Members and guests were part of a variety show with host, the Theater of Public Policy, who brought 100 years of League history to life through improv comedy and a unique Minnesota Cities edition of “The Dating Game.”
Minnesota’s own master storyteller, Garrison Keillor, also made a special appearance at the Union Depot. Keillor entertained the crowd with anecdotes about growing up in Minnesota and tapped the audience for material for his show—city issues that Mayor Krebsbach might contend with in Lake Wobegon.
If you missed the show, a recording will be posted soon on the League website.
The group also stepped just outside the Union Depot for a group photograph, just blocks away from where the League’s first group photo was taken in Rice Park in 1913.
Keynote speaker Wes Moore inspires city leaders
The conference continued on Thursday morning with keynote speaker Wes Moore (pictured at right), author of the best-selling book The Other Wes Moore.
Moore inspired delegates as he shared his personal story, talking about the power of decisions and the important work that city officials do every day to build communities that support our youth and help them succeed in life.
City officials learn from others and share their stories
Conference delegates had an opportunity to participate in many educational breakout sessions on everything from civility in local government and preparing for health care reform to social media, strategic planning, energy efficiency, and more. The League’s Business Leadership Council members also presented sessions on infrastructure, street safety, and economic development topics.
Finally, several cities shared insights about successful collaboration projects during our City Stories: Collaborating and Partnering to Improve Service Delivery session on Friday morning. Video recordings of the following sessions will be available soon on the League’s website:
New this year, a dozen League staff delivered the Friday morning breakfast session highlighting some of the many League services and resources available to members. After the presentations, delegates joined staff at roundtables to ask questions and learn more about particular programs.
LMC elects a new president: Shaunna Johnson of Waite Park
At the annual meeting on Thursday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman gave an update on activities at the National League of Cities, where he currently serves as first vice president. Delegates elected Shaunna Johnson, city administrator of Waite Park, as the 2013-2014 LMC president. Dave Osberg, city administrator of Eagan, was elected first vice president, and Steve Nasby, city administrator of Windom, was elected second vice president.
Shaunna Johnson, 2013-2014 LMC President
The conference ended with a panel discussion on an important subject—the relationship between elected officials and appointed staff. During this closing session, the Theater of Public Policy returned, adding a fun and witty twist to the program as panelists shared their challenges and lessons learned. Those who attended learned that staff-council relations are not as easy as pie!
Finally, a very sincere thank you to the City of St. Paul and our host Mayor Chris Coleman. We were fortunate to hold our first meeting in St. Paul 100 years ago, and were thrilled to return for such a great celebration in the place where it all started.
We’ll see you next year in St. Cloud, June 18-20!
Contact Laura Harris
Training & Conferences Manager
(651) 281-1251 or (800) 925-1122