The objective of this site is to provide information to citizens regarding Lake Elmo city government and the role the city council plays in creating and maintaining a functional city government.  The site provides information, facts, news stories, and updates on what’s happening in Lake Elmo city government, past and present.  It also provides some history as documented by various news stories and articles about Lake Elmo that have been published since 2015.

Lake Elmo city government continues to move past the dysfunction that existed during 2015-2016 and the city is making progress on the issues and projects that are important to residents, taxpayers, and the business community: updating the city’s comprehensive plan; improving transparency and civility; planning for and managing future development (commercial, residential, and infrastructure); staff development and retention; maintaining positive relationships with Washington County and other municipal governments; determining the status of the Lake Elmo public library (which is now back in the Washington County library system); prioritizing public safety and services; updating parks and trails; determining the role of city council; improving meeting efficiency; and ensuring the city is fiscally responsible.

In 2017, the city council developed a Work Plan for 2017-2018, the “Work Plan” page on this site contains information and details of that Plan as well as updates on progress made. 

After many attempts to improve the civility and functionality of the 2015-2016 city council, The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust Board voted unanimously in 2016 to increase Lake Elmo’s insurance deductible from $500 to $200,000, in an effort to mitigate the financial risk to other Minnesota cities. This was only the fourth time in the board’s  history that penalties have been imposed because of a city council’s inability to function effectively.  http://www.twincities.com/2016/09/07/lake-elmo-socked-with-200000-penalty-for-rude-behavior/

The reasons for this action are outlined in a memo from Dan Greensweig, Assistant Administrator of the LMCIT.  Among other things occurring in 2015-2016, he cites: “significant turmoil within city hall for the last two years…..conflict between Council members….the conflict has spilled over into relationships between Council members and City staff……and Council is witnessing a deterioration of its relationships with other governmental bodies and with the public.”  Here is a link to his full memo, which contains additional detail and background. Memo to LMCIT

The LMCIT Board of Trustees revisited this issue at its October 4, 2017 meeting. While recognizing the efforts of the city council in 2017 to improve civility in its meetings and in its interactions with staff and residents, the board voted to reduce some of the city’s high liability insurance deductibles to $100,000 per claim, but left the deductibles for employee litigation and land use claims at $200,000 per claim. Concern was expressed that hostilities may return with the 2018 election. There is a link to this story on the “Functional Government” page of this site.  The unusual action taken by the LMCIT in 2016 has remained a significant issue and risk for the city.

There will always be disagreements but members of the city council, for the most part, continue to come together under the leadership of Mayor Pearson and are working to return to and maintain a functional city government in Lake Elmo.  Council meetings are clearly more efficient and the city continues progress on its 2017-2018 Work Plan.  Retention of city staff has improved, which has reduced the high costs of turnover that the city experienced in 2015-2016.

The LMCIT Board of Trustees met on November 7, 2018 and accepted a recommendation from Dan Greensweig to eliminate the special underwriting conditions, effective on the January 1, 2019 renewal date. This decision effectively reduces the city’s deductibles for employee litigation and land use claims from $200,000 per claim back to the pre 2016 amount of $500 per claim.  Here is a link to the 10/28/2018 memo from Dan Greensweig  LMCIT review 11-7-18

It remains critical for Lake Elmo to have collaborative leadership from ALL members of the city council. Transparency, civility, and staff retention have improved in 2017-2018. Residents and the business community have a right to expect an open and inclusive city council where ALL voices are welcomed and everyone is treated with respect, regardless of their policies or beliefs. The city will continue to face many challenges; and to ensure meaningful progress on those critical issues, Lake Elmo needs to maintain a FUNCTIONAL CITY GOVERNMENT, characterized by TRANSPARENCY, CIVILITY, AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. 

The “TABS” at the top of each page contain news stories, articles, and other information relevant to that particular topic.  “RECENT POSTS” (on the right side of every page) provides a quick update on recent news articles and information that have been added to the site.  Thanks for your interest, we invite you to come back often and, if you believe we need functional city government in Lake Elmo, we urge to Stay Engaged…….


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